Born to a position as heir to a chieftainship and to the hereditary premiership of the Zulu people, Buthelezi began his career within the tribal confines of the Buthelezi and Usuthu tribes of Zululand. Here he learnt the Zulu traditions of tribal and national government while, at the same time, he was introduced to the complexities of South African politics through his close links with leaders of the African nationalist movements. Ben Temkin, Buthelezi's biographer, had the full co-operation of Chief Buthelezi in the writing of this book. There were interviews and discussions in KwaZulu and in Johannesburg, in offices, at the airport, in hotels, in private homes and even while they travelled between centres in KwaZulu. Private notes, tape recordings, copies of speeches and correspondence were all made available while, over a period of more than a year, the author became a member of Buthelezi's entourage at numerous functions. Recent events including the country's elections and the evidence that was heard by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are also covered.
Out of their understanding for each other was born this book, the story of a black man, a politician, his people and the other peoples of South Africa.