Why do some Americans give moral support, and at times financial support, to black South Africans who are committed to tactics, strategies and programs of action that would not be tolerated in the United States itself?

Why is there in the United States a significant sentimental sympathy with the African National Congress's mission in exile? I find it incongruous. There is no room in the great American dream for political movements that are not only involved in furthering the aims and objectives of a formal armed struggle, but also in fomenting a people's war in South Africa, and that are doing so by inciting black South Africans to murder other black South Africans who oppose the use of violence in the solution of South Africa's problems.

Extraparliamentary pressures directed toward the achievement of noble ends are one thing, but plotting attacks on individuals in the streets and in their homes -- dousing people with petrol while they are alive and setting them alight, throwing petrol bombs into houses that are barricaded from without so that those inside die -- well, all that is something else.

Yet it is with the perpetrators of these kinds of deeds that some prominent Americans share platforms in the United States, where leaders who are committed to nonviolence are not only attacked but vilified and rejected as treacherous simply because they espouse nonviolence.

Let us look briefly at the political situation in South Africa. Apartheid was conceived by white South Africa as a means to create a white Western outpost in a Third World situation. South Africa is seen as an industrial state that only whites can run, and the whites' contribution toward the development of an industrialized economy is seen as something for which black South Africans should be grateful.

Since apartheid sees black South Africans as really being part of Third World Africa and not part of South Africa, a policy was adopted in which every South African black was to be allocated to one of 10 so-called "homelands," where they were expected to pursue Third World efforts to make their poverty-stricken "countries" economically viable.

Apartheid is, of course, politically, economically and socially untenable. It was doomed to failure from the outset. South Africa is not the exclusive domain of whites. It is one country with one people to share one destiny. Whites could not have built up the country's industrial base and they could not have developed its economy to the point that it has been developed without blacks as permanent members of society.

In fact, whites ultimately depend on black good will for their survival, even in so-called white South Africa. Thus far that good will has been there, precisely because blacks see South Africa as one country and they see white South Africans as part of that country's population. We do not see whites as expatriates or colonial foreigners. The black struggle for liberation has been a struggle not against whites but against the laws of the ruling party. The black struggle has been a struggle to create a South Africa in which all will be free. Blacks have not answered racism with racism. They know that whites are indispensable both in the present and in the future.

We as blacks are fired by the kind of ideals that gave birth to the great American nation, and that then led it on to become the leading Western industrial democracy in the world. We have always striven for a democratic parliamentary system under the rule of law, where all the freedoms honored by the American Constitution and by the American people would be present.

White faith in apartheid is now being rapidly eroded by white perceptions that it cannot work. Whites have now in fact abandoned the notion that blacks in South Africa are temporary sojourners there only to sell their labor.

The National Party is now doing one turnabout after another on many of the policy perceptions that were cornerstones of apartheid. It recognizes that all legal restrictions on black entries into the economy need to be lifted, that the majority of the people in so-called white South Africa are black. Black preponderance has now been accepted, and it has also been accepted that it will increase in the future. Blacks are now being afforded greater freedom of movement. They can now hold property and freehold title. They can organize free trade unions. They can be apprenticed to do skilled jobs. There is no profession that is barred to them.

Black businessmen now have a greater freedom of choice as to where they can conduct their businesses. It has been accepted that blacks can no longer be excluded from worshiping in white churches. Nor may they be excluded from staying at many formerly whites-only hotels, or excluded from drinking in many bars hitherto reserved for whites. They may no longer be excluded from many whites-only parks and so on.

These changes spell the end of apartheid in the foreseeable future. I am not saying apartheid is dead. I am saying there is no prospect of its living forever. Americans should accept this. But they should also accept that there will be no easy victory, and there certainly will not be any overnight victory. Every black South African knows this, and we perforce have to work within the framework of this reality. It is my plea to Americans that they do the same.

It is because the struggle has endured so long already -- and will endure into the future, for we know not how long -- that some black South African groups have given up the fight to bring about changes through the slow, hard, grinding work of steadily building up negotiating advantages to bring about change through nonviolent means. There are black South Africans who think they can achieve an easy victory now, and who think that if they cannot have an easy victory now, it is possible to have a difficult victory now by employing violence.

It is clear to me as a black leader that at this juncture of our history black South Africans are facing the choice of continuing democratic opposition to apartheid to succeed in bringing about a fair and just society or of resorting to violence to bring about a one-party Marxist state.

Every American should fully understand that there are no prospects of violence bringing about an open, democratic society. White South Africans are not going to shiver and shake in their boots at the prospects of increased violence. Apartheid is not Jericho, where walls fall down because people march around its perimeter. The use of violence will actually have to destroy apartheid from within.

I am totally convinced that the escalation of violence much beyond the present levels now evident in South Africa would drive white South Africa to adopt a scorched-earth policy. The ANC mission in exile has clearly decided to escalate violence regardless of the consequences for the economy of the country.

In fact, it has gone further. It is escalating violence in the hope of destroying the economy. ANC leaders do not want the kind of economy South Africa now has. They regard the free-enterprise system as a root evil and as the system that gave birth to apartheid. They regard Western capitalism as something that nurtures exploitation of man by man. They condemn the whole way of life that is built on the foundations of the free-enterprise capitalist system.

Not only do ANC leaders reject the kind of economic order that has been emerging in South Africa, but they also reject the kind of constitutions that go with Western industrial capitalism in Europe and North America. They reject a multiparty state, and they seek to conduct the struggle for liberation in such a way that they return as a military government that will not only nationalize all the major economic enterprises in the country but will also exercise a Marxist-type total control over the life of the country.

Americans now need to have a very clear perception of these realities and need to think deeply about what forces in South Africa need to be assisted financially, materially, morally and diplomatically.

Inkatha, the organization of which I am president, has now over a million paid-up members, and it is these members who are ordinary black South Africans who formulate Inkatha policy and devise tactics and strategies to pursue the movement's aims and objectives of bringing about change through nonviolence. It is not only for them that I speak. I also speak for a vast number of South Africans who are not members but who are sympathizers and supporters.

Black South Africa urges the United States to support the nonviolent democratic struggle in this country, and urges the American people to judge black leaders not only by what they so plausibly say, but also by the company they keep. The United Democratic Front, for example, is highly thought of in many American circles. On paper it can be made to look beautiful, and the eloquence of oratory on platforms can make it sound even better. The underlying harsh reality, however, is that the ANC mission in exile is using this organization as a front through which to perpetrate terrible deeds in South Africa.

The ANC mission exile urges white South Africans to join with the UDF. It praises the UDF, and the UDF sings the praises of the ANC mission in exile and talks of its members as being the only authentic leaders of South Africa.

It is time somebody told these truths to the American public. They are not party political propaganda statements. They can be verified in the texts of the ANC mission in exile's official publications, and any analysis of their broadcasts over Radio Freedom now made daily from Addis Ababa, Lusaka and Dar-es-Salaam will show that I am telling the story as it is.

It is high time that American churches, American universities and the great U.S. Congress itself document what the ANC mission in exile is actually doing and then decide whether the sympathetic support for it and its surrogates measures up to the values that are there in the great American dream.

I would gladly debate the points I have made on a public platform in the United States with Oliver Tambo of the ANC. He has thus far avoided me in North America and Europe.

Black South Africa cherishes the ideal of a one- man, one-vote system of government in a unitary state. It has always been the ideal we have striven for, but I and a great many black South Africans who would follow me into the politics of negotiation are prepared to consider the merits of other systems of government. We are prepared to look, for example, at the merits of a federal system. We are prepared to negotiate because it is so critically important to escape from being locked into a vicious upward spiral of the use of violence in our country.

Whites cannot win a military war against black demands for justice and equality. I do not believe that blacks can win a military war against apartheid. The only escape from apartheid and from esalating violence that follows in its wake is in the politics of negotiation. The international community overhastily praised the South African government for adopting a new constitution and saw in it the seeds of new things. Demands should now be made on President Botha to deliver the goods that many in the West regarded as a first step in the right direction.

Whenever Botha and his cabinet colleagues talk about constitutional reform, they do so in terms that black South Africans see as nothing more than glib talk and vague promises. The way forward is for all the respective parties that need to be involved in meaningful negotiations to nail their colors to the mast and to say exactly what they will be negotiating for.

I have drafted a declaration of intent that I am prepared to amend to make it the kind of consensus document that black and white leaders will be able to sign jointly. There can be no negotiations without agendas in situations in which there is a deep distrust on both sides. Honest brokers among Western governments could perhaps play an important role in talking people out of the positions they adopt in fear.

The West needs to impress on the South African government the need for consultation. There is sufficient good will left in South Africa among all population groups to enable the politics of negotiation to get off the ground. We have reached that point in history where we now must negotiate or perish.