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Shaka to get back spear and shield

Published Aug 19, 2010


The Zulu royal family has opted for an image drawn in 1825 as a suitable depiction of the founder of the Zulu nation.

The royal family rejected a statue of King Shaka erected at Durban's King Shaka International Airport, saying the statue depicted the legendary Zulu hero "more like a herd boy than the fierce hunter-warrior of Zulu folklore".

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A R3 million statue, crafted by sculptor Andries Botha, was removed from the new airport after Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and others expressed reservations about its features and location.

The work had Shaka surrounded by Nguni cattle and without the spear and shield he is traditionally depicted with.

Following the removal of the statue, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize appointed a panel of academics, historians and members of the Zulu royal house to advise on features of historical significance to be included in a new statue.

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The team included historian Jabulani Maphalala, University of KwaZulu-Natal history lecturer Jabulani Sithole, Vusi Shongwe, head of the heritage directorate in the premier's office, his colleague Brian Thusi, heritage consultant Musa Xulu, Reverend Vikinduku Nculwane, princes Mbonisi Zulu, Thulani Zulu and Zeblon Zulu, and praise singer Buzetsheni Mdletshe.

The team met for the first time at Linduzulu Palace in Nongoma in June, but no reports have been made public since.

Maphalala revealed on Wednesday that the royal house delegation had brought to the first meeting a drawing of Shaka by Lieutenant James King, an early merchant who met and befriended Shaka in 1824.

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"The royal house indicated to us that this is the image of Shaka preferred by the king and the royal house.

"It is the image of King Shaka with a spear and a long shield, is used in all traditional and cultural ceremonies, and is the one generally known and accepted by amaZulu," said Maphalala.

Mkhize's office said the premier would present a final report which would cover all issues, including the commissioning processes.

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