Timeline: Events since AmaZulu King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu’s passing to ascension of King Misuzulu

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The AmaZulu throne became vacant following the passing of the longest-serving Zulu Monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu on 12 March 2021.

In his will, the late King named Misuzulu kaZwelithini, his son, as the next King. However, the late King’s will has been challenged by a section of the AmaZulu Royal House.

In early March 2022, the High Court dismissed the challenge to King Misuzulu kaZwelithini’s succession to the
throne, allowing the coronation to go ahead. The court also ruled that the execution of King Zwelithini’s will would be suspended pending a determination on whether his signature was authentic or not.

Soon after, President Cyril Ramaphosa issued the ‘certificate of recognition’ in terms of the
Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act of 2019, effectively paving the way for Misuzulu as
the heir apparent of the AmaZulu nation.

King Misuzulu kaZwelithini is the ninth monarch since King Shaka founded the AmaZulu as a nation.

Timeline of events since the passing of King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu (including the
emergence of the royal feud):

March 2021:

AmaZulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu passed away on 12 March.  Soon after the passing of the King, speculation became rife on who will be next monarch. Many in the media, historians and
cultural experts predicted that Prince Misuzulu would be the one appointed to the throne, as he was the son of the late King and the late King’s Great Wife, giving him increased status among the late King’s other 28 children.

At the time, some senior members of the royal family called the debate over succession “premature”.  At King Goodwill Zwelithini’s funeral service, on 18 March 2021, the late king’s sister, Princess Thembi Ndlovu stated that the Royal Family did not yet know who the next king would be and that the individual would be “chosen by God”.

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi then issued a statement on behalf of the Zulu Royal Family stating that the new king would only be announced after the three-month mourning period for the late King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu.

On 24 March 2021, the Royal family convened and appointed Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu as regent.

April 2021:

Before her regency was gazetted by the KwaZulu-Natal premier, as required by South African statutory law, Queen Mantfombi died from a short illness on 29 April 2021, some seven weeks after King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu’ s passing.

May 2021:

The regent queen had died without publicly appointing the next king. However, on 07 May
2021, at the public reading of the late Queen’s will, it emerged that she had appointed Prince
Misuzulu as the next king of the Zulu nation.  The announcement was met with protest from
certain members of the royal family and the newly announced “King” Misuzulu, was whisked away by police and a security detail from Eswatini.

Later that month in May 2021, various members of the royal family, notably Queen Sibongile Dlamini, the late king’s first wife, challenged King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu’s will and the validity of Prince Misuzulu’s nomination as his successor.

December 2021:

In early December Prince Mbonisi rushed to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to interdict the
possible coronation of King Misuzulu. He told the court that he heard that was going to happen on December 3, 2021. However, the court said the application was based on rumours and told him to join a similar court challenge which was brought by Princess Ntandoyenkosi and Princess Ntombizosuthu Zulu-Duma. The Princesses wanted the coronation of King Misuzulu stopped, saying his nomination was based on a fraudulent will.

In the end, KZN Deputy Judge President Isaac Madondo, after hearing the cases of the three, ruled that Prince Mbonisi has no “locus standi” to even make that application. On the part of the princesses, he ruled that their case should be head separately and even if the will was forged, as they alleged, it has no bearing on the issue of succession.

Madondo ruled that the succession issue is based on customary law, not dictated to by a will.

January 2022:

On the morning of the commemoration of the battle of Isandlwana on 22 January, Prince Mbonisi once again rushed to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to stop King Misuzulu from addressing the event in Nquthu. The court dismissed the application.

March 2022:

On 2 March 2022, the High Court in Pietermaritzburg found that Prince Misuzulu was appropriately identified and nominated as the undisputed successor to the Zulu throne. By dismissing objections to his nomination, the court paved the way for his coronation as the king.

On 16 March 2022, President Ramaphosa issued the certificate of recognition of Misuzulu as King of the AmaZulu.

August 2022:

On 13 August, a faction of the AmaZulu royal family traditionally crowned Prince Simakade as King of the Zulu nation.

On Thursday, 18 August, Prince Mbonisi and his brothers announced their new preferred successor to the throne, namely Prince Buzabazi Zulu from the KwaDlamahlahla royal house.

On Saturday, 20 August, thousands gathered in Nongoma – northern KwaZulu-Natal for the traditional coronation of King Misuzulu kaZwelithini whereby he was officially introduced to his ancestors as king of the Zulu nation – through the kraal-entering ceremony.

On the morning of the ritual, Princess Ntandoyenkosi and Princess Ntombizosuthu rushed to the Pietermaritzburg High court to interdict the ritual. Judge Thomas Ncube struck the application off the court roll, saying it was not urgent.

September 2022:

King Misuzulu hosted the Reed Dance, Umkhosi Womhlanga, for the first time as king. The second leg of the dance was marred with controversy as the royal faction of the Prince Simakade threatened bloodshed Umkhosi
Womhlanga or Reed Dance at place at eNyokeni Royal Palace. Ultimately the Reed Dance went ahead at Enyokeni without any major problems. It was only after the event when a close aide of the king, Dr Dumisani Blasius Khumalo was found murdered. Khumalo, was killed by unknown gunmen on Saturday night shortly after attending the traditional Reed Dance in Nongoma.

King Misuzulu KaZwelithini will be coronated on Saturday 29 October at a ceremony to be held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.