Dignified reburial for Zulu queen

2011-04-30 00:00

ZULU King Goodwill Zwelithini kaDinizulu’s mother, Queen Thomozile Jezangani Ndwandwe-Zulu, will be reburied at Mkhumbane Freedom Park memorial site in Cato Manor on May 7, and her tombstone will be unveiled the next day.

eThekwini Mayor Obed Mlaba told journalists at a media briefing at uShaka in Durban yesterday that it took the municipality, KZN provincial government and Arts and Culture more than seven years to find the grave where the queen was buried in a Chesterville cemetery, get authority to exhume the remains and have DNA tests performed to confirm their identity.

The remains were exhumed on April 11 and samples were sent to a laboratory in the United States for DNA testing.

The results, which were matched against the king’s DNA, came back 98,5% positive on Tuesday.

“This process went through thick and thin in many ways and today the whole exercise has come to an end, with positive results. Before the exhumation all the legal processes were followed and no corners were cut,” said Mlaba.

Records in the city archives state that Queen Thomo, as she was known, died in her mid 30s and was buried in 1959 after a short illness.

The municipality appealed to the king to allow the queen to be reburied in Cato Manor.

“As a metro we are honoured that the royal family agreed to have her buried here in Mkhumbane Freedom Park. The site was chosen because struggle icons such as Dorothy Nyembe, one of the women who were committed in bringing apartheid down, and Solomon Linda, the composer of the song Imbube, resided there,” said Mlaba.

Before the burial the queen’s remains will be taken to the royal household at Enyokeni, kwaNongoma.

The entire process is being overseen by a steering committee comprising the municipality, KZN provincial government and Arts and Culture.

Mlaba said R300 million was budgeted to develop a cultural museum and heritage centre linked to the queen’s new burial site.

The queen’s burial site had long been unknown because she had not stayed at the royal household and was buried secretly as a commoner.

The king had no idea where his mother was buried.

Why the queen left the royal household and what she did afterwards are the subject of speculation.

Prince Thulane Zulu, who represented the king, said the royal family has been suffering not knowing where the queen was buried.

Asked under what circumstances she had left the royal household, he said, “Only the elders in the royal household can answer that question. What’s important now is that the mother of the king will be finally laid to rest with the respect she deserves.”

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