The new statue of King Shaka that is located at the King Shaka International Airport in Durban is set to be unveiled this coming weekend.
Dr Musa Gumede, the deputy city manager for community and emergency services in eThekwini Municipality, told members of the executive committee during a meeting yesterday that the statue could be unveiled on September 23, the day before Heritage Day.
This is the second King Shaka statue to be made for the airport. A previous one was removed in 2010 after the late King Goodwill Zwelithini complained that it was demeaning in its portrayal of the founder of the Zulu nation.
Gumede made the announcement shortly after he announced that the Heritage Day celebrations on September 24 would be hosted in Durban.
He said the City had received a letter from the national Department of Sport, Arts and Culture informing it that it would host the festivities.
The news raised concerns among some councillors that the event could clash with the one that is usually hosted by the Zulu king in KwaDukuza.
In response, Gumede said: “I am given to understand that the king will also be at Princess Magogo Stadium. The statue (of King Shaka) could also be unveiled the day before, so we might have two events (that long weekend).”
He also clarified that the statue was a project undertaken by the provincial government, and eThekwini Municipality would attend the unveiling event as a guest.
Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said City officials should ensure that everything about the statue was in order.
“Is everything in order with the statue? We do not want a situation whereby we go to unveil the statue and there is something wrong,” he said jokingly, adding: “We do not want to have any problems, we have plenty of problems as it is.”
IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi said it was about time the statue was in place.
“I’ve said to officials that it does not help that all these buildings do not spell out the history (of the people they are named after). People should know who is King Shaka, learn about history, and the same thing applies to King Zwelithini Stadium and Princess Magogo Stadium, people coming from outside the province should know who these people are.
“We hope that this statue will not lead to complaints that it is not in the likeness of the king. We would be pleased if the royal family was consulted in a proper manner, and (those unveiling the statue) are not just unveiling a structure without consultation because it is important that the royal family is consulted to avoid any mistakes. As the IFP we want to see everything being done in a proper manner,” he said.