/ 13 May 2008

IFP slams ‘abominable propaganda’ of history book

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) is arranging a series of protests to stop the use of a grade 12 history book it describes as ”biased propaganda … poisoning the minds of children”.

National protest organiser Albert Mncwango said on Tuesday that the book, In Search of History, is currently being used by schools throughout South Africa.

”The IFP is protesting viciously [about] biased propaganda masquerading as grade 12 history,” he said in a statement.

”This grade 12 history book, which is being used in some schools as a prescribed work, tells blatant lies and deliberately distorts facts about the role of the IFP and the contribution made by its leader, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi,” he added.

He said protests would start in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday.

”We cannot allow our children to be poisoned with this … abominable propaganda and the deliberate twisting of history to distort who did what, when and where.”

Education Department spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said: ”In Search of History is not a prescribed textbook. It is additional material that learners can use. The minister and Mangosuthu Buthelezi are in discussion and I do not know the outcome as yet.”

Reverend Musa Zondi, spokesperson for the IFP, told the Mail & Guardian Online on Tuesday: ”History is fact. We can’t accept this book as fact. It is biased propaganda. In one of the places [in the textbook] there is a cartoon done by Zapiro showing the leader of the IFP signing on to the new South Africa with [the] blood of the innocents from the political violence. All the other parties have a write-up regarding the agreement for the new South Africa, but, with the IFP, only the cartoon is used. The ANC spilled as much blood.”

”History must be factual. It is fact the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. If it rose in the north and set in the south, it has to be fact. Events of the past must be tabulated in historical fact. Children who are taught history cannot exercise judgement,” said Zondi.

”We are taking action because no joy has come from the negotiations. If we leave it, it will harm us a year before the elections. We can’t just leave it.”

Mncwango stressed that schools should be places of learning and ”not propaganda incubators where learners are brainwashed”.

Two protests are scheduled to take place on Wednesday in Empangeni and Port Shepstone, where a memorandum is expected to be handed over to representatives of Education Minister Naledi Pandor. — Sapa