Cultural experts say the wives of the late Amazulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu still have a huge role to play as advisors, and through social programmes to keep the legacy of the king alive.
Cultural experts say his queens have the responsibility to teach younger generations on what the departed monarch stood for. Dr Gugu Mazibuko from the University of KwaZulu-Natal says the queens are the backbone of the Zulu nation.
“The Queens have a huge have role to play. Even when the King is late. They are the backbone and advisers of the nation. Most of the ceremonies that are held rely on the information provided by the queens. They also have programs that they run which they have to preserve even when the King has passed on for the Nation to grow,” says Mazibuko.
Discussion on Zulu traditions and succession:
Dr Bhedlindaba Mkhize from the Umsamo Institute says the queens have the responsibility to guide the late King’s successor and to welcome the new queens to the royal household.
“In an African tradition a new queen that comes in, a new makoti that comes in gets taught by the elderly queens that are there omamezala on how to behave in this family and how things were done in this family and how should they be done. So in other words it is unlike in other traditions and cultures in the West where actually a queen comes on or a new lady comes in therefore she does her own thing. No, she comes under the umbrella of the family, she gets taught the procedures and rules and the policies of the family as it used to happen to their mother-in-laws. When they arrived in the family. So there will have no difference,” says Mkhize.
In the current financial year, the AmaZulu Royal Household has been allocated R71. 3 million from the KwaZulu-Natal provincial budget.
King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu Memorial service | The reading of King’s obituary:
Part of this budget is used for cultural programmes implemented under the stewardship of the royal household. It is also used to maintain the palaces, for ceremonies and for other cultural events. The queens also benefit from the budget.
Mkhize says the nation has the responsibility to take care of its queens.
“There is no difference between oNdlunkulu and the first ladies. oNdlunkulu they are part of the community, they are part of the family, they are part of the nation. It is the nation that looks after them as it was before whilst the King was still alive. It’s not an issue of saying what is it that they were doing because that is a family issue,” says Mkhize.
Professor Sihawu Ngubane from the University of KwaZulu-Natal agrees. He, however, points out that from a cultural perspective, it is not the time to discuss the financial maintenance of the queens.
“We are still in mourning. Usually, we mourning several days after the burial has taken place. At this point in time, we are not in a position to discuss those issues but since the whole process is based on culture, it is a cultural thing that is based on the philosophy of Ubuntu, caring for one another, the queens will still be cared for but we cannot talk about how that will happen because of the time of mourning,” says Ngubane.
King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu laid to rest in a secret planting ritual: