Former Zulu regiments commander Zihogo 'Mgilija' Nhleko mourned
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DURBAN - INJEJE yabeNGUNI Council has described the death of former Zulu regiments commander Zihogo “Mgilija” Nhleko as another sore point for the Zulu nation in what has been a difficult 2021.
The council was responding to Nhleko’s death in hospital on Monday this week following an illness.
Nhleko raised the profile of Zulu regiments and was always seen leading amabutho, especially at gatherings attended by the late Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu.
Injeje Council’s Phumlani Mfeka decried Nhleko’s death, saying it had robbed the nation of a colourful and proud personality.
“The nation has been robbed of a man who was not ashamed to reveal his pride at being a Zulu warrior, he reminded us of the need to take note of who and what we are as a nation, so his death is a massive loss,” said Mfeka.
He also confirmed that the council had sent some of its leaders to express their condolences to the bereaved family.
The council noted how Nhleko’s profile had been raised when he accompanied the late king to Britain in one of his visits to the British royal family.
Nhleko made the news when he threatened to defy the government and be part of the procession along with other amabutho in paying their last respects to the king, when the country was still under hard lockdown.
Nhleko’s death, the council noted, was part of a difficult year for many.
“This has been an extremely difficult year because many amakhosi died this year, not just in KwaZulu-Natal, but in different parts of South Africa. But we are grateful that the commander imparted important lessons.”
Several people took to social media both on Monday and yesterday to express their support for the Nhleko family.
Cultural expert Professor Sihawu Ngubane described Nhleko as a brave man who was proud of being a Zulu warrior.
“He will be remembered for how he conducted himself, for the authority he exerted when commanding the warriors.
“He was a charismatic individual who took his duty as commander of the warriors to heart,” said Ngubane.
He noted how he had demonstrated this bravery when he visited former president Jacob Zuma to express his support after Zuma was sentenced to jail for contempt of court for refusing to appear before the Zondo Commission.
“That is the trait of somebody who has a set of principles that he upholds and is not moved,” Ngubane said.
Arts and Culture MEC Hlengiwe Mavimbela tweeted: “It is with shock and sadness to learn of the passing of former leader of the AmaZulu regiments Zihogo ‘Mgilija’ Nhleko.
“We will remember him as one of our stakeholders during the preparations of commemorations such as the battle of Isandlwana and Umkhosi weLembe.”
Attempts to get comment from the Zulu Royal House’s Prince Thulani Zulu were unsuccessful yesterday.