Zulu king calls for a day of cleansing and healing once Covid-19 subsides
Durban - ZULU King Goodwill Zwelithini has called for a collective cleansing and healing ritual when Covid-19 cases in the country have subsided.
Zwelithini was speaking over the weekend at an annual event in commemoration of the 1879 Anglo-Zulu battle of Isandlwana.
"It is an age old custom of African nations that after every war, a cleansing ritual is undertaken to lay to rest and bid farewell to those who died," said the King, who is the official custodian of Zulu tradition and customs in KwaZulu-Natal.
The king said the Zulu Royal Council was engaging with faith, political and traditional leaders to ensure that this ritual was undertaken as soon as Covid-19 deaths had subsided.
"Medical care workers, teachers, the young and old, the haves and the have-nots have died … we continue to perish in exponential numbers. This resembles warfare because there is not even the chance to conduct our usual cultural rituals. We don't even get a chance to see the dying in hospital beds to bid goodbye. It is like we are in a war situation," he said.
"In the aftermath of war, we, as Nguni and African nations, have always ensured we conduct cleansing rituals as a way of ensuring the souls of the departed rest in peace. The present war-like situation of Covid-19 calls for just that.
"Even those who are left standing after this war will have post-traumatic stress disorder. Such a ritual will comprise injecting some healing in the living who have been traumatised by these phenomenal deaths,“ the King said.
He added that he empathised with his people as the current situation had forced an uncultural way of burying loved ones.
"But it is a compelling situation, which we must address after the pandemic."
The Zulu Royal Council would rope in all faiths, led by the king, to conduct a joint cleansing and healing ritual, in harmony with each affected family’s preference, he said.
He said the shape and form of the ritual was currently being fine-tuned. The king said he was confident the initiative would be emulated by the kings in other provinces.
He said the battle against the pandemic was not just for doctors and nurses, but required all individuals to take responsibility for their health, as well as that of their neighbours.