DURBAN - KING MISUZULU KaZwelithini, the king-elect of the Zulu royal house, has called for unity among the members of his family and the Zulu nation after a bruising few months which split the royal family and threatened his ascendancy to the throne.
In his speech delivered in Zulu during the Umkhosi WaMaganu (Amarula Festival) this past weekend, the king called for unity in the family and extended an olive branch to his siblings, reminding them that they were all born of “one father” and should care for one another.
The speech was delivered almost a full year after the death of King Goodwill Zwelithini. King Misuzulu referred to that moment, saying it was a painful time in the family’s history.
Cultural experts said the olive branch being extended by King Misuzulu, and a dialogue, might do the trick in reuniting the royal family.
Last week, the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruled, in matters related to the royal household, that the coronation could not be stopped as the late king’s will had no bearing on who should be the next king, because only Zulu customary law was followed in that regard.
King Misuzulu said it was not the first time there had been a difference of opinion in the Zulu royal house and the nation, but stressed that the nation and the royal family had always been able to put their differences aside and unite.
He said that in the last speech King Zwelithini delivered, he referenced these challenges. He said the late king had spoken of the differences that were within the royal family shortly before the battle of Isandlwana. Faced with this threat, the royal house and the nation put these differences aside and acted in unison, ensuring they prevailed against the mighty British army. He said this was an important lesson as it was no secret that after the passing of King Zwelithini and Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu there were divisions in the royal house. He said the matter causing differences was not just important to the royal family but to the nation as a whole because it was the centre of what forms the Zulu nation.
“To those of us blessed to have been fathered by the late king, we are all born of ’one parent’ who taught us that the pain felt by one of us is the pain that we all share. The spirit of the late king will live or die within us in the way that we do things,” he said.
He honoured the queens of the late king saying “as had been in the past, they are still ‘our parents that we love. You raised us, looked after the late king until the end. We will continue to honour you’”.
He said as the leader of the nation, it was his task to bring together the different royal houses and the nation.
Speaking about the festival, he said they should not just showcase cultural traditions of the nation, but they should lead to economic prosperity.
He called on business people to invest in areas under traditional leadership, saying cultural events like the festival should not just happen at “the top” but all the amakhosi in different areas should be able to promote the different festivals in their areas as part of the path to the main festival.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala, who also attended the festival, said yesterday that the matter of the king’s coronation now lay with the Presidency.
Cultural expert professor Sihawu Ngubane said the best course of action for the royal house was dialogue.
“The family is still going through a painful patch following the passing of the king (King Zwelithini). But they’re still of the same blood, they should create space for a dialogue and they will find each other,” he said.
Professor Jabulani Maphalala said the challenges faced by King Misuzulu were nothing new as ascendancy to the throne of the Zulu kingdom had always been fraught with challenges, but once a king had ascended the matter was laid to rest.