Royal family member denies that King Goodwill Zwelithini died from Covid-19
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By Sihle Mavuso
Nongoma – A senior prince and half-brother to the late King Goodwill Zwelithini has roundly dismissed rumours that he died of Covid-19.
In a brief interview with Independent Media at Kwa Khethomthandayo Royal Palace in Nongoma, northern KZN on Saturday, Prince Mbonisi Zulu said it’s on record that the King was admitted to hospital with diabetes complications.
He stressed that until the King's doctors say otherwise, the rumour that he died of Covid-19 is malicious.
“There is a statement that made it known that the King was admitted with diabetes and that is the official information we have for the public,“ he said.
The prince also clarified that how the King would be laid to rest would be discussed in a meeting of the princes late on Saturday.
“For now let us wait for the King’s body to arrive at the palace and give him a rest,” he said.
By 2pm on Saturday, the King’s body was being transported under heavy escort from Durban to Nongoma – a distance of about 300km.
Expectations were that it would arrive in the historic palace where he spent his early years, at the latest by 6pm.
“For now there is no decision whether the King’s body would be allowed to tour all his (six) palaces before resting him. Princes would meet and determine that,” the prince clarified.
The King, who presided over the Zulu nation for almost half a century, making him the longest reigning king in the 205 year history of the nation, passed away on Friday, aged 72.
Shortly after leading a delegation of Amakhosi (chiefs) to pay their respects following the passing of the King, the chairperson of the KZN house of traditional leaders, Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza of the Amadunge clan on the KZN south coast, said not only had the Zulu monarchy lost a father figure but the entire African continent.
“Leaders from all over the African continent used come to see the King and seek his leadership wisdom. That is the calibre of the leader he was,” Mdunge said.
He added that since times have changed, the only thing required from the mourning nation is to show respect.
“Respect, just respect from the nation. Nothing more, nothing less but respect,” Mdunge said.
Similar sentiments of respect during the mourning period were expressed by Inkosi Mfanuvele Buthelezi of the Buthelezi clan near Vryheid.
Buthelezi said another practice is that when a traditional leader has died, people people must not tilt the soil.
“But above all, people cannot be stopped from going to town to fulfil their needs. But they must show respect to show that the nation is mourning,” Buthelezi said.
As hundreds of mourners convened outside the palace to offer their condolences, the mood remained sombre, with most of them speaking in low voices, lamenting the death.
Throughout the day, SAPS officers stationed at the golden gates of the palace had a busy day managing luxury vehicles ferrying VIP mourners in and out of the palace.
Among the early mourners was Nongoma mayor Albert Mncwango who, during an interview with Independent Media, said the late King opened up his palaces for them to use to promote tourism around the royal brand.
“After that royal nod tourism thrived in Nongoma and that is one of his biggest legacies in the area,” Mncwango said.
Also seen walking into the palace to pay his respects was Inkosi Mqoqi Ngcobo of the Qadi clan, which claims large parts of Durban as their traditional land.