King Goodwill Zwelithini

Durban - The Zulu Royal Family has appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa to, in the future, join King Goodwill Zwelithini for the commemoration of Umkhosi Welembe held in KwaDukuza, on the KZN north coast. 

The King’s spokesperson, Prince Thulani Zulu made the request during an interview with Independent Media on Tuesday, shortly before the King addressed amabutho, the traditional Zulu regiment, as part of commemorating the event.

“We would be honoured if our president (Ramaphosa) can be with us as we are part of this democracy. I hear that he is today celebrating this day elsewhere. We want him to be part of what we have always been doing way before he took over the office,” said Prince Thulani.

Former president Jacob Zuma had always attended the King's traditional ceremonies during his nine years in power. While the whole country is celebrating Heritage Day, the King on Tuesday celebrated the day as Umkhosi Welembe. 

Prince Thulani said the Royal Family and the Zulu nation would never abandon the original name of the event. 

“Before 1994 the event was known as King Shaka Day, and as Zulus, we are still using that name. We are meeting here to commemorate the day on which the King the founded the Zulu nation.” said Prince Thulani. 

He said the Royal Family did not have a problem with 'Heritage Day' being used for the rest of the country, “but here in KwaZulu-Natal this day will always be about Ilembe”. 

He called on the Zulu nation to remember King Shaka by fighting against social ills, such as women and child abuse and other forms of crime. 

“All this is embarrassing us, therefore young people must remember Ilembe (Shaka) by fighting against these challenges,” he said.

He cautioned that people should not take the law into their own hands, but instead they should hand over criminals to law enforcement authorities. 

“We are the people of peace as we do not attack people. There is this wrong perception that Zulu people are attacking foreigners, which is wrong. We (the Zulu nation) should behave ourselves and not do what we are being accused of,” he said. 

Prince Thulani said the King would touch on the land issue. 

“There is no way that the King cannot speak about the land issue since the previous King had fought to protect our land, and members of the nation were killed. 

During the commemoration of Umkhosi Womhlanga (Reed Dance) at his Enyokeni Palace in Nongoma, the King expressed his anger about the recommendation by the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture and former president Kgalema Motlanthe’s high level panel that Ingonyama Trust Board, which administers large hectors of KwaZulu-Natal rural land on behalf of the King, should either be scrapped or reviewed to give land occupants full rights of tenure. 

When asked if Ramaphosa had met the King after the Reed Dance ceremony, Prince Thulani said he would not answer the question as he was not the spokesperson for the Ingonyama Trust Board.  

Politics Bureau