Durban - In anticipation of an influx of thousands of well-wishers to attend the much-anticipated coronation of Misuzulu KaZwelithini as the next king of the Zulu nation, some members of the committee preparing for the big day are considering proposing that the event be hosted by Durban.
According to some of those who sit on the committee, the consideration is informed by the fact that the mooted host town, Nongoma, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, is under-resourced in terms of accommodation and large, open venues.
Nongoma has been the seat of the Zulu royal family since the early 1900s. The coronation of the late king Goodwill Zwelithini in December 1971 was hosted by the town of Nongoma, which even then was very small and underdeveloped while being managed by the then bantustan government of KwaZulu led by Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Almost 51 years later, the small and dusty town could be dumped in favour of Durban.
One insider who sits on the committee said some of the elements that had come into play were that Durban has big venues like the Moses Mabhida Stadium, which can take up to 90 000 people, and it had hosted the Zulu 200 event in 2016.
The Zulu 200 was meant to commemorate 200 years since the legendary King Shaka founded the Zulu nation.
Another issue is that Nongoma and the nearby Zululand region towns like Ulundi, Pongola, Vryheid and Mkuze would not have enough accommodation to house the legion of guests expected to grace the event.
“It’s all about the capacity to host a large number of people for such a historic event to the Zulu nation. That’s why some members of the committee are looking at either eNyokeni Palace in Nongoma, or a big venue in Durban,” said the insider.
Although a date for the coronation has not been announced because the committee wants to first know the availability of President Cyril Ramaphosa, King Mswati III of Eswatini, King Letsie III of Lesotho, and other prominent traditional leaders, the event will probably take place next month.
“The plan is that it should happen any time in May; further delays are not desirable for us,” said the source.
The coronation committee, which is made up of senior royal members, four provincial cabinet members including Premier Sihle Zikalala, and prominent Zulu historians and academics, will meet again this Friday to discuss the logistics of the coronation.
Prince Thulani Zulu, King Misuzulu’s aide and spokesperson who sits on the committee, said the issue of the hosting venue had yet to be discussed. He said the only thing they had done was to write to Ramaphosa asking him to indicate his availability.
“We have not yet discussed the issue of the venue as the committee has only met once … this could be just the wishes of other people regarding the matter,” he told the Daily News.
Meanwhile, Princess Thembi Zulu-Ndlovu, the half-sister of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini, has warned King Misuzulu not to rejoice yet as they intend to approach the North Gauteng High Court to set aside his official recognition by Ramaphosa.
This is contained in a letter that the senior princess wrote to other members of the royal family to clarify that she had not dumped Prince Simakade Zulu as her preferred candidate for the throne.
This follows her decision to attend the umembeso ceremony of King Misuzulu on Saturday in Newcastle where he was fulfilling another pre-wedding rite to Queen Ntokozo Mayisela, one of his two wives.
Writing in Zulu, the princess told the other royals that there “should be no confusion” caused by her decision to attend the gathering.