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29 October 1983
Five people were killed and many others injured at the University of Zululand (Ongoye) after the outbreak of political violence at the institution on 29 October 1983. Five of those killed were students who were supporters of the United Democratic Front (UDF). The violence between an estimated 500 Inkatha Freedom Party supporters and a group of UDF aligned students highlighted the rising political tensions in the province. The rapid growth of independent trade unions in Natal (now kwaZulu Natal) in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and the increasing activities of the UDF posed a threat to IFP's hold on popular support in KwaZulu. As people began to support to the trade unions and anti-apartheid community organizations the support base of the IFP was gradually eroded. As a consequence, the 1980s were dominated by a period of sustained conflict and political violence that reached alarming proportions in some areas. The effects of the conflict that broke out in the province permeated various sections of society including educational institutions such as schools. Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi condemned the school boycotts that had spread across KwaZulu. After he declared that a band of disciplined and well regimented band on warriors (impis) should be formed in every Inkatha region, bands of Inkatha supporters became more visible. The impis went out to schools to stamp out schools boycott in the townships around Durban and KwaMashu. Rising tensions between Inkatha and UDF led activities contributed to the outbreak of the political violence at the University of Zululand in October 1983. The violent clash at the University of Zululand was triggered when students aligned to the African National Congress (ANC) and UDF opposed an attempt by Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi to use the campus for a ceremony to commemorate the death of King Cetshwayo. In the aftermath of the 'Ongoye massacre' lectures and impending university examinations were severely disrupted. Reverend Enos Sikhakhane and his colleagues at the Interdenominational African Ministries' Association of Southern Africa (IDAMASA) volunteered to supervise the writing of the end of the year examinations in 1984. That same month Buthelezi blamed the UDF for the outbreak of political violence and asserted that the students had said things about him which offended Inkatha Youth supporters. A Commission of Enquiry was set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the outbreak of the violence at the University of Zululand and published its findings in 1985.