King: ‘Stop the killing’

2012-12-27 00:00

KING Goodwill Zwelithini made an historic — and desperate — appeal to his Zulu subjects yesterday, calling on them to abandon violence and end the bloodshed in KwaZulu-Natal.

It was not the first time the king has made such an appeal in recent months, particularly to those political parties whose supporters this year have settled their differences through the barrel of a gun.

He added the taxi industry to that list yesterday at a cleansing ceremony held at Enyokeni Royal Palace in kwaNongoma.

“As the heir to the throne of the Zulu nation, it is painful to see my father’s people continuously being killed because of greed,” he said.

The monarch has emerged as a key figure in attempts to bring peace to KZN after a year of tit-for-tat violence between political rivals the IFP and NFP.

The ANC has also endured internal strife that has seen councillors and party members murdered by colleagues.

Two months ago the king went public with his peace initiative and held a few meetings where he called on Zulus to honour God and remember their heritage.

He continued with the theme yesterday and said his throne represented those both alive and dead, as well as future generations

“Our forefathers fought fiercely in battle trying to protect the land for us, the future generations,” said the king.

He said political, taxi and even church leaders had to ask themselves what they have done to end the violence.

“People would ask why the king is meddling in politics and taxi industry affairs. The answer is simple: in my forefathers’ land we have no churches, political or taxi groupings but we have one great Zulu nation.”

He said it was important for his people to remember that from the 1838 Battle of Ncome right up to the Bhambatha Rebellion in 1906, Zulu warriors fought relentlessly side by side against the common enemy that threatened to take their land.

“It is important to understand where we are coming from because we are generations of those who sacrificed their lives protecting our future.”

The king ordered an end to the killings and asked his subjects to join him in his vision to build a caring and prosperous Zulu nation. He said it was a shame that the taxi industry was so violent when it was almost the only one established by blacks.

The king said this was the first phase of a long journey to realising peace in KZN — the next phase would entail visits to the 11 districts in the province.

The cleansing ceremony was overseen by traditional healers. The several hundred who attended cleansed themselves by rubbing three leaves of intelezi (muthi) on their face and shoulders, then had to walk through a wooden gate before dumping the leaves in a fire.

Thubelihle Zondi, of kwaMpumuza in Pietermaritzburg, said: “The monarch was able to paint a clear picture of what makes us who we are, where we come from and where we should be going as a Zulu nation.”

He said people would have renewed pride in their belief systems as Zulus.

Chris Zulu, of the Gazini Palace, said the king had spoken like the founding father of the Zulu nation, King Shaka.

“The king is encouraging a culture of education and the art of negotiating rather than spilling blood, which will not help in creating a prosperous nation.”

Today sees the ceremony enter its second and final day, with President Jacob Zuma expected to attend.

Zwelithini will address faith leaders, and political parties may have an opportunity to answer the king’s criticisms.

The royal family was cleansed on Tuesday. Zwelithini received 50 cows from traditional leaders and another 20 from various government departments.

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