Large numbers of people turned out at the public viewing site of the memorial of amaZulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu at the KwaKhethomthandayo royal palace in Nongoma, in northern KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday.

This is despite repeated warnings from the Zulu Royal family and Traditional Prime Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi for people not to gather in light of COVID-19 protocols.

The King passed on from COVID-19 complications.

‘Father figure’

Residents Michael Zungu and Mxolisi Ntshangase say they wanted to be part of the Amabutho or King’s regiments. They say the Zulu monarch was a father figure.

“The news of the passing of the King shocked us. We are really hurt. We were hoping that if we encounter challenges we would report to the King,” Zungu said.

“We have suffered a great loss. The King played a role of the father. Sometimes we would go to the palace to play soccer and he would watch us. He would also groom us as a father,” Ntshagase said.

Minister Mkhize on COVID-19 regulations for King’s memorial service:

Rollout of vaccines

While administering the Eucharist at the King’s official memorial service on Thursday, Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba called for the quick rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to restore the lives of people.

“We pray for a quick rollout of the vaccines which will restore our lives to a more normal state. I’ve spent the last few weeks campaigning here and abroad against vaccine apartheid. And I hope those of you with influence in the right circles will play your role in putting pressure on the international community to put as much emphasis on the lives of those in the developing world as on those in richer countries when it comes to distributing vaccines.”

Eucharist and sermon by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba: