- Following his traditional crowning as Zulu king, Misuzulu kaZwelithini vowed to foster unity and do away with the divisions that have seen others vying for his throne.
- He warned that attempts by his siblings to dethrone him were part of a more extensive scheme to sow divisions within the Zulu nation.
- The ceremony attended by foreign dignitaries and cabinet ministers also drew former health minister Zweli Mkhize, suspended ANC secretary general Ace Magashule and former SAA boss Dudu Myeni from their political wilderness.
Misuzulu kaZwelithini believes attempts by his siblings to unseat him as Zulu king are part of an underhanded scheme meant to sow division within the Zulu nation.
Despite a last-ditch attempt to interdict the process on Saturday, his traditional coronation in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday went off without a glitch.
During his first public address after the kraal-entering ceremony performed as a right of passage in crowning him as Zulu king, known as ukungena esibayeni, Misuzulu said:
The Nazareth Baptist Church, Shembe, has been divided since the death of its leader Vimbeni Shembe in 2011. Mduduzi Shembe and his uncle Vela Shembe have been at loggerheads fighting for supremacy.
After a five-year court battle in 2016, the High Court in Durban finally ruled that Vela Shembe was the rightful leader of the Nazareth Baptist Church – but despite the ruling, fighting for the church’s leadership is still ongoing.
“We are aware of this, and I caution you that following today’s event, we ought to pursue unity and not divisions,” said Misuzulu.
He advised “when those purporting to be the rightful kings” approach his subjects, they should “lend them an ear but don’t take the hide of what they preach”.
Mocking his detractors, Misuzulu said President Cyril Ramaphosa had already awarded him a certificate recognising only him as the rightful king.
“I asked [AmaZulu traditional prime minister Prince] Mangosuthu Buthelezi if it has ever happened before that a president issue a certificate only for it to be retracted, and he [Buthelezi] said it has never happened in his 90 plus years of life,” said Misuzulu.
The king’s sentiments come after some senior members of the royal family announced Prince Buzabazi, the third-born son of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini and Queen Buhle Mathe of Kwadlamahlahla Royal House in Nongoma, as their preferred choice for the heir to the Zulu kingdom.
The announcement was made by the brothers of the late king at a media briefing in Fourways, Johannesburg on Thursday.
Buzabazi is not the only candidate to be put forward. A week ago, a faction of the AmaZulu royal family crowned Prince Simakade as King of the Zulu nation in a traditional ceremony.
The ceremony took place a week ago at the Enyokeni royal palace, where Prince Simakade also performed the kraal-entering ceremony.
However, his gathering had a small turnout when compared to the thousands who made their way to the KwaKhangelamankengane Royal Palace on Saturday for Misuzulu’s ceremony.
It was a showcase of Zulu regalia and traditional weapons as attendees came dressed in their most extravagant outfits while brandishing handcrafted weapons replicating those used for hunting or during wars in the past.
The large crowds were mostly made up of izintombi (Zulu maidens) and amabutho (Zulu regiments) as well as community members from far and wide across the country.
National government officials, including Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu and Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu, also attended.
The traditional coronation also drew former health minister Zweli Mkhize, suspended ANC secretary general Ace Magashule and former SAA boss Dudu Myeni from their political wilderness.
Members of the KwaZulu-Natal government led by newly elected ANC provincial chairperson Siboniso Duma were present in their numbers.
There was also a sizable delegation from eSwatini representing King Mswati lll, Misuzulu’s uncle, as he was unable to attend the ceremony. Other foreign kingdoms represented were those from Malawi, Zambia, and the DRC, among others.
Earlier in the day, princesses Ntandoyenkosi Zulu and Ntombizosuthu Zulu-Duma brought an urgent application to halt the ceremony.
They argued that, given the Supreme Court of Appeal had granted on Friday an application by King Zwelithini’s first wife Sibongile Dlamini-Zulu challenging the late king’s will, the traditional crowning ceremony should not go ahead pending the finalisation of the appeal.
But the Pietermaritzburg High Court struck the matter off its roll on Saturday, citing a lack of urgency.