Buthelezi explains Anglican ritual performed on King Misuzulu, and why he was excluded from post-coronation gala dinner

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba performing the Anglican church’s ritual on King Misuzulu. Picture: GCIS

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba performing the Anglican church’s ritual on King Misuzulu. Picture: GCIS

Published Nov 1, 2022


Durban - The Zulu monarch’s traditional prime minister, Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, has come out to defend the Anglican church over the religious rituals it performed on King Misuzulu during his coronation on Saturday.

Buthelezi says there was nothing sinister about them, and the king, who is a Christian himself, gave full consent ahead of them being performed by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

During the king’s coronation at the Moses Mabhida stadium, many were taken aback when Makgoba performed the rituals, which involved anointing the king with oil and putting a ring on his finger.

That prompted critics to suggest that the king and the Zulu kingdom were being surrendered to the Anglican church, and by extension, to the British monarch.

One prominent institution that voiced its displeasure was the Indonsa Yesizwe think tank, which is devoted to preserving Zulu history.

In a statement, the think tank said it was doubtful that those rituals belong to the Anglican Church, and that makes it more worrying.

It then called on the Anglican church to explain the rituals as it had made the Zulu nation look naive and ignorant in the eyes of the world.

In some scenarios, conspiracy theorists claimed that the king was being recruited by the Illuminati, citing the ring.

Video: African News Agency (ANA)

On Tuesday, Buthelezi convened an impromptu press conference to address the matter. He took offence, even singling out the founder of the think tank, Professor Musa Xulu, for rebuke and calling on him to apologise to the church and Makgoba.

“I want to emphasise this point because a very distressing accusation has been made by the Indonsa yeSizwe Think Tank, under the names of the Reverend Professor Musa Xulu, Dr Makhosi Khoza and Dr Themba Fakazi, claiming that the role played by the Anglican Church in the handing-over ceremony amounts to an attempt at ‘recolonisation’.

“I am devastated by this accusation against the head of my own church, whom I myself asked to be present and whom I myself requested to do what he did.

“If there is any blame to be apportioned, that blame should fall squarely on my shoulders. But I do not regret asking the Archbishop to perform this service, and I believe that it was done in a superbly dignified manner.

“Through the liturgy, the Archbishop did what the prophets of old did in the times of King David, even using the oil of anointing. This was wholly appropriate for a Christian King,” Buthelezi said.

In response to those who said all religions should have been given a platform to give opening prayers instead of giving the opportunity only to the Anglican church, Buthelezi said it would have not be ideal as that would have consumed plenty of time.

During a brief question and answers session, he addressed the issue of the controversial gala dinner hosted by ANC ministers, and why he was excluded.

He said he was never invited, and he only got to know about the dinner when King Mswati III of eSwatini sent an emissary to enquire about it and whether he would attend.

The gala dinner was hosted at the Durban International Convention Centre after the coronation ceremony. Among those who attended and addressed it was President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Also in attendance were former president Jacob Zuma, King Mswati and several ministers from the ANC government.

What was glaring was the absence of Buthelezi and King Misuzulu’s siblings. The absence of Buthelezi led to one of the most serious breaches in a royal protocol, where King Mswati introduced King Misuzulu (that is contained in the written programme).

The royal protocol does not allow that a king introduce another king. Instead, he is introduced by his prime minister or anyone senior assigned to do that.

On his departure to eSwatini on Monday evening, King Mswati reportedly sent Prince Mbongiseni Zulu to relay his regret to Buthelezi that an invitation to the dinner was never extended to him.

It was during that time Buthelezi told the media that he was recently informed that the government had always insisted that even the coronation was supposed to exclude the royal family.

He said it was claimed that the role of the royal family ended when the king performed the culture of entering the sacred kraal, which took place on August 20 this year at KwaKhangelamankengane palace in Nongoma.

IOL previously reported that Buthelezi was not included in delivering a speech at the coronation. His inclusion came after some royal family members complained that it was wrong to do so, and government officials backed down from their heavily rebutted plan.

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