WATCH | Prayer to mark one year since the death of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu gets underway

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Prince Mbonisi Zulu, one of the senior royal family members, attended the late King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu’s prayer at the kwaKhethomthandayo Royal Palace in Nongoma.
Prince Mbonisi Zulu, one of the senior royal family members, attended the late King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu’s prayer at the kwaKhethomthandayo Royal Palace in Nongoma.

Prayers to mark one year since the death of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, kicked off in Nongoma, northern KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday morning.

King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, who died at a Durban hospital in March last year, had been on the throne for 50 years - becoming the oldest monarch in the African continent.

Zulu regiments arrive at the late King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu's prayer held at the kwaKhengelamankengena Royal Palace in Nongoma.

During his 50-year reign, King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu united the Zulu nation and made it the country’s most influential traditional authority.

At the time of his death, the KwaZulu-Natal government had been allocating a R60 million annual budget to the Zulu Royal family.

Despite assurances from the Zulu Royal family that King Zwelithini’s death would not weaken the Zulu nation, the family was struggling to pull together a year after his passing.

The Saturday prayers, which were meant to also demonstrate unity within the royal family, highlighted the deep divisions instead.

A royal faction, loyal to new Zulu King, Misuzulu kaZwelithini, held its prayer at the kwaKhangelamankengane Royal Palace while the rival faction led by the late King’s sister, Princess Thembi Ndlovu, held a parallel event at the kwaKhethomthandayo Royal Palace, also in Nongoma.

The kwaKhethomthandayo faction, which believes that King Misuzulu kaZwelithini was not the legitimate traditional leader of the Zulu people, wants King Zwelithini’ kaBhekuzulu’s other son, Prince Simakade Zulu, to be appointed as the new Zulu King.

Prince Mbonisi Zulu said as much as everything was being done to unite the royal family, the unity talks were proving to be difficult.

"As we engage in the prayers for the late King, we would also want to appeal to the entire South African nation to pray for unity of the royal family," he said.

However, Prince Mbonisi maintained that King Misuzulu kaZwelithini was not the legitimate King of the Zulu nation.

"The truth of the matter is that there is currently no King.

"The royal family is yet to sit and discuss the issue of succession," he said.


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