President Cyril Ramaphosa has honoured His Majesty King Victor Thulare of the BaPedi Kingdom by designating his funeral as a Special Official Funeral Category 1.
Kgoshikgolo Thulare died of COVID-19-related complications last week, at the age of 40.
The President has authorised that the National Flag be flown at half-mast at every flag station in the country from Wednesday 13 until the evening of the day of the funeral on 17 January 2021.
The late King is lauded for having played a major role in sowing the seeds of unity in the BaPedi Kingdom.
“The Special Official funeral is declared in the condition of compliance with regulation 11B, Sub-regulation 8 of COVID-19 Lockdown Regulations of 25 March 2020,” says the Presidency in a statement.
Preparations for the burial of the late Bapedi King are underway at the Royal Palace at Maebe Tjate Three, in Mohlaletse in the Sekhukhune District in Limpopo. The Royal House says their focus remains on the burial, before addressing the issue of appointing an acting ruler.
Royal House in mourning
The Bapedi Royal House, located on the foot of the Leolo Mountains in Sekhukhune, is in mourning. The death of King Thulare the Third sent shockwaves across the Bapedi nation and throughout the country.
The King was proclaimed the true king in March last year and President Cyril Ramaphosa officially recognised him in April. The proclamation followed a long kingship dispute with his uncle, Kenneth Kgagudi Sekhukhune.
Royal House spokesperson, Ntoampe Mampuru, says the king passed on while he was still establishing several projects to uplift his subjects.
“He had initiated some projects; projects related to economic development in relation to Sekhukhune District management, they were also looking around creating an economic venue around Steelpoort. One of the things around here they were envisaging to establish a university a technikon with programs related to uplifting the skills of the youth so that they feature well in the economic development.”
His death has left questions over the succession. The family says all the Bapedi nation’s customs need to be observed first before there is any talk of a successor.
“For now the family which is the custodian and together with the royal kraal Bahomana, they are focusing on the burial of Kgoshikgolo the third, the issue succession at this stage is not an issue but it will be attended to following the protocols, the Bapedi nation protocols at a later date.”
Tributes pour in
Political parties, traditional leadership, and the presidency have sent messages of condolence to the royal family. The funeral of King Thulare the Third will take place on Sunday, under strict COVID-19 guidelines at Maebe Tjate Three, in Mohlaletsi in Sekhukhune.