Background to the political situation in South Africa leading up to the establishment of the TRC in 1995 under the Chairmanship of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
After more than 40 years of apartheid the African National Congress (ANC) was unbanned and Nelson Mandela was released from prison. This opened the way for all party talks and the first democratic elections. The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) led by Chief Buthelezi walked out of the talks and threatened not to take part in the elections. This lead to increased violence between ANC and IFP supporters in KwaZulu/Natal (which is where the IFP has most of its following). The South African Security Police gave IFP members military training and supplied them with guns.
In Mpophomeni (a township in KwaZulu/Natal) the catalyst to the violence was a strike in 1985 at Sarmcol (a rubber factory) which was the biggest employer in the area. The union shop stewards identified themselves with the ANC and the scabs who took their jobs were mainly IFP members. This led to war in Mpophomeni. Homes were burnt, schools closed and people lost their lives.