With the body of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi finally home, scores of Zulu regiments on Friday evening kept a night vigil to guard his mortal remains.
Clad in their famous traditional Zulu regalia, the regiments had earlier formed a guard of honour and escorted Buthelezi’s body home where it was received by his family.
The acting Inkosi (Chief) of the Buthelezi clan, Mpikayise Buthelezi told IOL that the regiments would continue to play a prominent role until the government takes over on Saturday.
“These regiments will be here overnight to watch the body and the house where uMntwana (Prince) is resting.They are the ones who will take him to the stadium for the state funeral,” he said.
While camping, the regiments were feasting on meat provided by the family after it slaughtered over 80 cows to feed the throngs of mourners who visited the home since Saturday last week to pay their final respects.
Prince Buthelezi is spending his last moment at home by resting at the house of his late mother, Princess Magogo KaDinuzulu - the Zulu princess who married to Inkosi Mathole Buthelezi.
Normally, one spends his last moment in his own house before being buried. According to cultural experts, Buthelezi’s choice signifies the love and respect for his late mother.
Meanwhile, some mourners who had joined the regiments in bringing Buthelezi’s body from the mortuary dispersed and travelled back home.
They will join other mourners at Saturday's funeral to be held at the regional stadium named after Buthelezi in central Ulundi.
The NatsJoint in the meantime indicated that they expect about 20 000 to gather at the stadium to pay their last respects to Buthelezi, the founder of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the traditional prime minister of the Zulu nation.