Xhosa, Zulu royal houses unite in marriage

By Mbali Thusi

The 13th and last day of the wedding between Princess Nandi Zulu, 25, the second daughter of King Goodwill Zwelithini, and Chief Bovulengwe Mfundo Mtirara, of the Thembu clan of Eastern Cape, was a showcase of two South African cultures yesterday.

Nandi is the daughter of Queen Buhle Mathe and the first daughter of Zwelithini to tie the not. The wedding brought together two royal families with different cultures and traditions. Mtirara is the son of Xhosa Chief Zwelakhe and Nobantu Mtirara and a nephew of former president Nelson Mandela..

The small village near eMatyenengqina Great Palace in Eastern Cape was turned into a palace. Buses brought masses of people from all over the province, while others came from as far as Vryheid in northern KwaZulu-Natal, to witness the historic wedding uniting two different cultures.

An estimated crowd of four thousand, including delegates and guests, graced the occasion, chanting traditional dance songs with Zulu maidens dressed in colourful beaded traditional gear to welcome Zwelithini, Nandi and Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the home affairs minister, as they were ushered into the Great Palace. In traditional outfit, the king walked alongside his daughter. Their arrival triggered huge jubilation, with women ululating.

Zulu warriors also paraded, chanting traditional songs and singing the praises of their king.

Then came the arrival of the four queens, excluding Nandi's mother, who remained at KwaDlamahlahla Palace in Nongoma. By tradition she was not allowed to attend.

Those who did attend included former president Nelson Mandela and his wife, Graca Machel; Lesotho's King Letsie III; and Jacob Zuma, the deputy president. Swaziland's King Mswati III was represented by two of his sons.

The western segment of the wedding took place in Umtata on Friday.



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