DURBAN - While a mural depicting historical Zulu kings in the Durban CBD was never commissioned by the royal household it had become sentimental and was regarded by many residents of Durban as something to be proud of as their history was captured publicly.
One such resident took to Facebook when she saw that the mural was being covered with a large municipal poster in bright yellow promoting that residents should exercise their right to vote.
Although the message does not specify which party to vote for, people reacting to it have associated it with the ANC instead of the municipality and condemned it, this is apparently because the city is being governed by the ANC and the mural is now draped in what appears to be ANC colours.
After seeing workers covering the mural with the kings’ faces along Dr Yusuf Dadoo (Broad) Street, between Monty Naicker (Pine) and Dr AB Xuma (Commercial) streets, people took to social media to express their anger.
Thully Langa wrote in Zulu: ezintweni zonke i-ANC ebingazikhipha ibone kungcono ukukhipha umlando wethu kwaZulu ifake lamanga ayo ehlale iwasho. Iyadelela ANC yeseeees angikhathali ningathini (out of all the things the ANC could have removed, it saw fit to remove our Zulu history and put the lies it always tells. The ANC is rude and I do not care what you all say).
Another post read: yaze yangiphula umoya i-ANC (ANC broke my heart).
Another post read: Le nhlangano yamasela iveza obala ukuthi amakhosi iwashaya indiva. Amanyala odwa lawa abawenzela la (this organisation of thieves clearly shows it does not respect traditional leaders. What they have done is a disgrace).
Zulu royal spokesperson Prince Thulani Zulu said the royal family had nothing to say about the matter because they were not consulted when the mural was put up.
The ANC and the municipality defended their actions.
ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said the Zulu royal family was not paying for the space and the ANC had the right to put its advert in any space and this should not be regarded as undermining the Zulu kings and the Zulu nation.
Municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela also defended the municipality’s actions, saying there was no agreement the paintings would remain forever.
He said the space belonged to the municipality and the mural depicting the faces of Zulu kings, from Shaka to Zwelithini, was its initiative to show respect, by honouring the Zulu kings and educating people about history and the background of the Zulu nation.
“The municipality has great respect for the Zulu kingdom which is why we took it upon ourselves to put up the kings’ faces with their times of rule to educate young people and visitors in our city about the history of the Zulu nation. The paintings have been there for more than a year and we did this without being asked by anyone which shows our respect for the kingdom,” said Mayisela.
To comment on this story send a WhatsApp message to our BackChat column on 071 485 7995