'We are going through a crisis' but it can be solved - King Misuzulu on feuds in Zulu royal family

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King Misuzulu Zulu with KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala
King Misuzulu Zulu with KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala
PHOTO: Jabulani Langa
  • The Zulu king sat down with two broadcasters for his first television interview on Tuesday.
  • The king acknowledged the ongoing battles within his family and said it can be solved.
  • He also spoke about the future Zulu queen, who he has two sons with.

New amaZulu King Misuzulu KaZwelithini has admitted his family is going through a crisis, but says they can get through it.

The monarch sat down for his first ever television interview since ascending to the throne and spoke about the ongoing disputes in his family, his marriage and his upbringing.

"We are going through a crisis, but at the same time, it's something that can be solved, and I do believe that all of this will be over one day, and everybody will come back home, and we will sit down as a family. I believe that it is a matter that the family needs to sit down and solve because at the end of the day, we can't have two kings. We have to have one," he told Newsroom Afrika.

Since the deaths of his father, King Goodwill Zwelithini, and his mother, Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu, his family has been a house divided, with his legitimacy to ascend the throne being called into question by senior members of the royal family.

This dispute has spilled over into the courts after the late king's first wife and her children went to court to question the authenticity of King Goodwill Zwelithini's will, which named Queen Mantfombi regent. The queen later named her son as the king.

The matter is currently before a Pietermaritzburg court, and the family members are also seeking an interdict halting the king's coronation.

During his mother's memorial service and before he was named king, the king caused quite a stir when he marched up to the marquee where the memorial was held and led amabutho (Zulu warriors) in an act reserved only for the king.

'They were hungry for a leader'

"It just happened automatically. I think the Zulus were already hungry for a king. They were hungry for a leader to sit on that seat, but if you remember, this was happening at my mother's memorial. It was also my family homestead. So even the warriors, while they were there, they felt the pain I was going through, having lost my father; now it's the queen, and through the comfort and support, that's why what happened happened. I did not plan it," he said.

In an unprecedented move after the memorial, his mother's will was read out in public.

"We wanted everything to happen quickly insofar as reading it (the will) publicly would almost like defuse a lot of things that were already in people's minds, and whoever was thinking whatever they were thinking because if you remember, at that time, my father's will was already in dispute.

The monarch said:

We sat down with the attorneys and everyone involved to say, look this one, let's do it in public because my father's one was done privately, and we said let's do this one publicly just to also send a message publicly, so everyone is on a clear picture.

Chaos erupted at the Khangelamankengane royal palace after the will was read, when Prince Thokozani stood up to comment on the reading of the will. This resulted in the king being whisked away under heavy guard.

"It was beyond me what happened at that time, that minute. It's a matter of security who look after me. It's a security measure that saw the threat, and I was removed immediately after they saw the threat and really Prince Thokozani, probably met him twice in my life (sic)," he said.

Recently the king's older brother, Prince Simakade, has once again been mentioned as a contender for the throne, despite having released a statement through traditional prime minister Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi denying his desire to be king.

'Rural development' is a priority

When asked about Prince Simakade, the king said: "We have spoken a couple of times since the death of my father, and we spoke after the death of the queen, and I didn't know that he would be a so-called contender to what my family had initiated for myself..."

The king was candid about his "privileged" upbringing as a prince in South Africa and Eswatini, the valuable lessons he learnt at St Charles College, one of the top private schools in Pietermaritzburg, his time abroad and the future Zulu queen.

He recently paid lobola for Ntokozo Mayisela, who he shares two children with.

He said:

She is a lovely woman. We have been together for many, many years. She has met my mother and my father, and she has given me two beautiful boys, whom I love dearly. She is a great woman and I look forward to living a life with her and holding hands, working for our people, moving forward with her being queen. I want to emphasise for her that she needs to learn all the cultural things my mother has been doing.

As for his future plans for the Zulu people, the king said he was looking forward to championing issues such as the fight against gender-based violence and rural development.

"Rural development is the greatest thing and is a priority (in) my life. And I do believe that the rural areas need to be developed, not maybe to be metros. They need to be orderly and be formalised in the right way, whether it's your agriculture or development insofar as infrastructure. And that is my priority.

"Really the reason of the issue of land, that's the bottom line of everything (sic). Give us time to develop our land as Zulus coming together in unity and being able to move forward. That is the only way we can protect our land," he said.

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