Nongoma - Amid a challenge from some of his brothers over the Zulu throne, King Misuzulu KaZwelithini successfully completed one of the most important aspects of entering the kraal ritual by bringing home a lion on Thursday night.
The king brought home the much-feared wild animal just after 7pm on Thursday night, much to the joy of those present at KwaKhangelamankengane Palace in Nongoma.
WATCH: King Misuzulu KaZwelithini walking back to the main house in the palace after delivering the lion he brought back from the royal hunt at Mkuze falls game reserve. This was in preparation for the main day on Saturday at KwaKhangalemankengane royal palace in Nongoma. @IOL pic.twitter.com/j43b8LFgbn— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) August 18, 2022
The palace has been a hive of activity throughout the week as the king is expected to perform the entering of the kraal ritual this weekend.
The king led a royal hunt to the privately owned Mkuze falls game reserve to hunt for the lion.
King Misuzulu will wear the lion’s skin on Saturday when he enters the sacred kraal, the last traditional rite before he is coronated as the Zulu King in Durban next month.
Emerging from the Pongola side of the palace just at 7pm in a long convoy of about 30 vehicles, Eskom’s load-shedding kicked in, throwing the entire enormous palace into darkness.
However, the darkness was brief as the generator kicked in and lit up the palace built on a farm along the R66, between Nongoma and Pongola.
Men who were present sang traditional hymns as they approached the golden gates of the palace to welcome the king and his entourage.
The Zulu regiments, some in full traditional Zulu regalia then led the King to the sacred royal kraal which was by then heavily fortified by an armed police battalion from the SAPS.
Some regiments helped to carry the lion which was by then dead and bleeding after the King is said to have bravely killed it during the hunt.
After being ushered into the kraal, the King walked in to join his traditional prime minister, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and senior royal family members like Prince Vanana Zulu.
Inside the kraal, there was a herd of cattle with one Nguni cow and one of the cows was tied on a pole in the centre of the sacred kraal, a very revered part facing the King’s secluded place known as Inhlambelo in Zulu.
PHOTOS: King Misuzulu KaZwelithini preparing for the last rites of bringing home a lion - a very feared animal. It's now strictly a private ritual that cannot be recorded by the media. Only royal family elders and the King will remain in the sacred kraal. @IOL pic.twitter.com/f0Z4w7yDoN— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) August 18, 2022
Members of the media and others who were recording the proceedings using their mobile phones were then asked to cease henceforth as that part is done in private and out of the public glare.
From a distance, the King, Buthelezi, Prince Vanana and Nhlanhla Mtaka, a close confidant of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini - the father of King Misuzulu, were seen explaining the process of how the skin of the lion should be prepared.
After almost 40 minutes inside the kraal, the media was then politely asked to completely leave as that part was strictly secretive.
A member of the Zulu royal family who took part in the hunt, told IOL that the king overpowered the lion after almost two hours hunting it inside the game reserve. They said the king spotted the lion while it was drinking from a dam.
He said in Zulu culture, killing a lion was a sign of bravery as the lion was the most feared animal in the wild.
He said if the king was not the chosen one, he would have not brought back the lion. He also said the king would have been given another chance to hunt the lion on Friday if he had not been successful.
The dead lion had several stab wounds on its upper abdomen and it was still bleeding when it was brought to the kraal.
Meanwhile, earlier on Thursday, Prince Mbonisi, the brother of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini and some other royal family members, announced Prince Buzabazi, the third born son of Queen Buhle Mathe, as their candidate for the throne, thus meaning that there are now three contenders for it.
He joins Prince Simakade Jackson Zulu who on Saturday he was ushered into the kraal at eNyokei palace and later declared “King of all Zulus”.
WATCH: King Misuzulu convoy upon his return from the royal hunt where he was supposed to bring a lion to be used for his entering the kraal ritual on Saturday at KwaKhangalemankengane palace. He successfully brought it with him. @IOL pic.twitter.com/o7w3sVdBSe— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) August 18, 2022
Prince Simakade, the first-born son of King Goodwill Zwelithini who was born out of wedlock, was initially backed by Prince Mbonisi (who later dumped him) and the late Princess Thembi Zulu-Ndlovu - she stood with him to the end.