President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the late AmaZulu King Goodwill Zwelithini as a leader who sought peace among the nation, saying he discouraged violence as a solution to the country’s woes.

King Zwelithini passed away at the age of 72 last week. He was in hospital for more than a month for diabetes treatment, but later succumbed to COVID-19-related complications.

Ramaphosa delivered the eulogy at the Special Official Memorial in Kwanongoma, KwaZulu-Natal.

“As a leader, he preached peace and unity. He abhorred violence and its consequences. He was a man who believed that the pursuit of violence is ethically and morally wrong. His Majesty was one of the most revered traditional leaders. As one of the elders of our country, his advice was regularly sought by leaders of different political persuasions, including myself.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers eulogy:

‘Proponent for peace and unity’

Earlier the Traditional Prime Minister of the AmaZulu nation and monarch, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, has described the late King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, as a leader who sought economic stability for his nation.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala has hailed the King as a proponent for peace and unity.

‘No successor yet’

The sister of the late AmaZulu King, Princess Thembi Ndlovu says no successor has been chosen yet to be installed as the new Zulu monarch.

Princes Thembi says King Goodwill Zwelithini had many children but nobody among the royal family knows who will ascend. She says when King Goodwill Zwelithini’s father – King Cyprian Bhekuzulu died in 1968, he did not know that he would be the successor.

‘Backbone of traditional structures’

The Chairperson of the House of Traditional leaders in KwaZulu-Natal, Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza says the late King was the backbone of the traditional structures in the whole of Africa.

Chiliza was among the dignitaries who attended the interment of the King’s remains at the KwaDlamahlanhla palace last night in a private ceremony.

Chiliza says the King believed in himself all the time. “The King was a backbone of all traditional structures in Africa and he was the preserver of history. He was believing in all that he was saying. His time has come to go to God. That is why God decided to take him from us.”

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King’s burial

The CEO of the Cebolethu funeral parlour, Nomfundo Mcoyi, says handling the King’s burial was an honour for her company. Mcoyi says she was very emotional when she heard that the King had bowed out, but she knew she had to take up the great task to help arrange the burial.

Mcoyi says when she built the mortuary in Nongoma she never thought that an AmaZulu king would lie there.

“It was such an experience to see that every day while he lied in our facilities Inyosi had to come asho izibongo zakhe (sing praises) every morning and every afternoon. It was like breakfast and dinner. You know, for me that was such an experience. There were other rituals that were performed and obviously I wouldn’t know more about them because I’m a female and as a female in our Zulu nation I couldn’t go near the King but our male staff was there who is very qualified to make sure that the King was taken care of according to the family needs,” adds Mcoyi.