Buthelezi was speaking in an exclusive interview with the SABC in Ulundi ahead of his 90th birthday next Monday.
The IFP is among the oldest opposition parties in the country. It was formed in 1975 by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi as a cultural movement.
Shortly afterwards relations between him and the ANC in exile were strained, leading to a conflict in the 1980’s and 1990s.
Twenty thousand people died mainly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
Buthelezi says: “I told my people that they must not just lie down, they must defend themselves. There were revenge attacks from the IFP. We cannot be equated in that conflict as if we actually wanted war. We were defending ourselves.”
Buthelezi says the ANC betrayed him.
He claimc Inkatha was formed at the behest of the party, “In fact the ANC betrayed me. I never quarrelled with the ANC, they ditched me like that because Mr Tambo was too afraid of being criticised and they didn’t have the courage to say that he and Luthuli had actually instructed me to accept the leadership of the Kwa-Zulu government in order to abort it.”
The ANC is more reconciliatory saying it plans to meet the IFP to mend relations.
KZN, ANC spokesperson, Ntuli Mdumiseni would not say when and where the meeting will take place, “but it’s expected to be soon.”