King Zwelithini to be buried in a men-only private funeral on Wednesday night: Buthelezi

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AmaZulu Traditional Prime Minister Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has told SABC News that amaZulu King Goodwill Zwelithini will be buried in a private funeral on Wednesday night, followed by a memorial on Thursday.

The king’s body will no longer lie in state due to COVID-19 protocols. He died due to COVID-19-related complications on Friday.

Speaking to SABC News at the KwaKhethomthandayo Royal Palace in Nongoma, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, Buthelezi says only a select group of men from the Zulu Royal house will participate in the burial.

“After a very protracted meeting, the summary was that there was actually a consensus that the king actually requested that he should be buried at night as happened when his two late sons were buried. Prince Butho and Prince Lekthula were buried at night. And he said to be buried by men only. It should be a private ceremony of the royal family.”

LIVE Proceedings from Nongoma: AmaZulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu

Buthelezi says the Presidency will provide support for the King’s memorial service.

“We are fortunate that one of the sons-in-law of the King phoned the President whilst we were engaged because it is known that His Excellency President Ramaphosa declared a State Funeral Category 1 for His Majesty. So clearly the President has confirmed that there won’t be what is called a state funeral but nevertheless, the Presidency will support what can be described as a memorial service on Thursday.”

Party leaders pay tributes

It’s been a busy morning at the KwaKhethomthandayo Royal Palace in Nongoma, northern KwaZulu-Natal, as political party leaders and government officials arrive to pay their last respects to AmaZulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.

As SABC’s Ayanda Mhlongo reports the provincial government delegation led by Premier Sihle Zikalala has also arrived.

“We are also expecting a delegation from the province of KwaZulu Natal that is going to be led by the Premier Sihle Zikalala. We are also told that former President Jacob Zuma is also going to be paying the family a visit today and he and other ministers we understand that the Minister of Co-operative Governance Dr Nkosasana Dlamini Zuma and the Minister of Police Bheki Cele and several other ministers are also going to be part of a delegation of national ministers that are also going to be coming through here,” reports Mhlongo.

To understanding the protocols to African ways when it comes to Kingship or royal burials, SABC speaks to Cultural and heritage Expert Prof. Somadoda Fikeni:

IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa says AmaZulu King Goodwill Zwelithini led from the front, promoting Zulu culture.

Hlabisa is among several high-profile leaders who are at the Kwakhethomthandayo Royal Palace in Nongoma in northern KwaZulu-Natal to pay their last respects.

King Zwelithini passed on in the early hours of Friday morning due to COVID-19 complications.

Hlabisa says, “The departure of His Majesty leaves the country and the Zulu nation naked. We are at the weakest point. His Majesty The King was an exemplary leader. He promoted the culture of Africaness, the culture of the Zulu nation. He promoted the values. He was a champion of defending women and children. He was at the forefront of gender-based violence.”

King’s body will not lie in state: Prince Buthelezi

The public has been urged not to visit any of the Zulu Royal Palaces in KwaZulu Natal due to risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, maidens who have taken part in the annual Reed Dance ceremony, have voiced their shock at the passing of King Zwelithini.

Nomagugu Ngobese, from Nomkhubulwane Culture and Youth Development Organisation, “The news that came yesterday was so sad and we started to mourn immediately when we heard the bad news. And to me, it seems like a huge tree has fallen.”

Maidens express grief over King’s passing: