AmaMpondo King Zanozuko Sigcau has been laid to rest at Flagstaff in the Eastern Cape.
Scores of people including traditional leaders, government officials and members of the amaMpondo nation gathered at Ndimakude Great Place to bid farewell to the late king who passed away at the end of last month after a short illness.
Funeral procession for the King:
Government officials including President Cyril Ramaphosa and Kings attended the ceremony, which was not without drama. Ahead of the funeral, the amaFaku Royal Family and Prince Dumelani Sigcau obtained a court order to ensure their participation in the performance of traditional rituals during the funeral of the amaMpondo King.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Deputy Minister Obed Bapela says even the President was thinking of not attending the King’s funeral following the court order.
“The President was thinking of not coming the until the court outcomes. We were on tenterhooks with the Minister of CoGTA who arrived yesterday. The court verdict was more focused on the ritual part of the funeral which the applicants wanted to have anything that has to do with rituals they are consulted.”
The spokesperson for the royal family Chief Jongulwazi Sigcau says the court interdict by the amaFaku Royal and Prince Dumelani Sigcau took them by surprise.
“There were never any summons that were made to us to the urgent application that was made by the other group of amaFaku that we take as our brothers and sisters. All of us need to do what we can to ensure the funeral proceedings are as honourable as possible and our King is laid to rest but now this is not the time and place, we have to celebrate the legacy of our beloved King.”
A member of the amaFaku royal family jumped on stage to express the family’s concerns.
Mbasa Sigcau says the government has ignored the family even with the court order they obtained last night.
“If we do not present an opposing view, there will be a misconception that we are in agreement with mess that we are seeing. The royal family has a view and that view has to be respected and there is a court order. Let us respect the royal family, there is a legitimate royal family, this place of amaphakathi currently contesting the kingship now today, they are pretending to be representing us.”
Despite the challenges, poets, traditional dancers praised the King for the role he played in preserving their traditions.
Artist Luvo Guzana drew a portrait of the fallen King. President Ramaphosa paid tribute to the king for fighting for development that benefited the amaMpondo nation.