Zulu King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini has taken a different approach with this year’s annual Zulu Royal Reed Dance.
He has told the thousand maidens who flocked to Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma to go back home and mourn the life of the late Zulu prime minister in line with the Zulu traditional practices.
“In respecting the passing of uMmntwana (Buthelezi), the Queen and I decided that tomorrow’s reed dance ceremony should be cancelled,”he said, adding the royal kingdom would give maidens an opportunity to travel back home in order to observe the Prime Minister’s passing.
He added: This means that today (Saturday) we are closing the Reed Dance. We will resume next year. God willing, we will continue with our cultural practice but for now as a nation, we feel that long speeches and advices that you’d like to hear should be cut short today. Dance and be merry today as today is the last day,“ he said.
The King indicated that it would be hard for him to sleep or rest in the coming days as he and Buthelezi worked together for the longest time until the end, having respected him.
“Please thank your parents for me back home for allowing you to come here,” he told the maidens.
He also thanked the Zulu nation for supporting him since he ascended to the throne.
This will be the first reed dance without Buthelezi who has been a towering figure and a staunch advocate of the Zulu nation's traditional and cultural practices.
Meanwhile, cultural and traditional expert Musa Xulu during an interview with Newzroom Afrika described Buthelezi’s death as a “disaster” particularly for the Zulu nation.
“A lot of Zulu tradition was around him. He worked very hard through the KwaZulu Natal government even in the post 1994-era to look after traditional institutions and to ensure that the cultural heritage not only of the Zulu people but of many other traditional communities is maintained in the new South Africa. He was a man of great stature,” he said.
Speaking from the Kwa Mai Mai Traditional Market in the Joburg CBD vendor Mthunzi Shangase (pictured below), hailed Buthelezi for the contribution he made to South African politics and for the Zulu nation saying he the Zulu people should let him go as he was old and had served the nation diligently.