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Royal row over regiments at Zuma’s Nkandla home: Expert says AmaZulus have a king

Zulu king Misuzulu Zulu. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/ African News Agency (ANA)

Zulu king Misuzulu Zulu. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/ African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 6, 2021


DURBAN - CULTURAL expert Dr Sihawu Ngubane says the nomination of Misuzulu kaZwelithini as the next AmaZulu king should be a clear indication that there is no vacancy for the position of the monarch of AmaZulu nation.

While Misuzulu’s coronation has yet to take place, there should be no doubt about his position as successor to King Goodwill Zwelithini, he said.

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Ngubane was commenting following a public spat between Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the traditional prime minister to the Zulu monarch and nation, and an induna, Mgiliji Nhleko, over the visit by amabutho (regiments) to former president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home at the weekend.

“What is missing is that the next steps towards the coronation should be observed and culminate in the crowning, but as things stand, and mindful of the legal challenge, AmaZulu do have a king,” Ngubane said.

The cultural expert said Nhleko’s visit to Nkandla was a personal show of support from an individual.

“Former president Zuma is known for his pride in being a Zulu and much of the appeal is also based in that he is not ashamed to declare his pride. Nhleko identifies with this and it’s the reason he went there to express support.”

Some have suggested that the presence of regiments may have placed the royal household in a difficult position.

In a press statement on Sunday, Buthelezi criticised Nhleko for mobilising amabutho to Nkandla, saying he had no authority to do so. He also lashed out at Injeje yabeNguni Council for suggesting that the king’s position had been vacant since the death of King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu early this year.

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“The Royal Family has never announced that the throne is vacant, nor did His Majesty King Zwelithini appoint Mr Nhleko to provide leadership for the Zulu Nation in these times of siege,” said Buthelezi in a statement.

He insisted that by claiming there was no king, Nhleko and the council were acting in defiance of the monarch – a dangerously inflammatory stance.

Responding to Buthelezi’s statement Nhleko questioned where he had made the statement dismissing Misuzulu as the new monarch, insisting the criticism was because he had visited the former president as a show of support.

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Asked whether he feared being stripped of the position, Nhleko said he had no problem with such a move.