Princess Charlene of Monaco offers to mediate in the family dispute … Zulu leaders

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Zwelithini was the longest-serving monarch in Zulu history, reigning for half a century through years of apartheid and the transition to multiracial democracy.

He died early March 12 in the eastern city of Durban, aged 72, after weeks of treatment for a diabetes-related illness.

Born in Nongoma, Zwelithini ascended to the throne on December 3, 1971 during the apartheid era.

He became king after the death of his father, King Cyprian Bhekuzulu kaSolomon in 1968, but was forced to flee to Saint Helena for three years for fear of assassination.

Prince Israel Mcwayizeni served as regent until 1971, when Zwelithini was officially installed as the eighth monarch of the Zulus in a ceremony on December 3, 1971, at the age of just 23.

The Queen receives a gift from Zulu King Zwelithini in 1995. He presented her with a replica of a cup given to King Cetshwayo by Queen Victoria in 1882 at a lunch in Durban, South Africa, in 1995

Goodwill Zwelithini, (left, with Zulu Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, right, in 2019) died in the early hours of March 12 in the eastern city of Durban after taking a 'turn for the worse' after weeks of treatment for diabetes in hospital

Goodwill Zwelithini, (left, with Zulu Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, right, in 2019) died in the early hours of March 12 in the eastern city of Durban after taking a ‘turn for the worse’ after weeks of treatment for diabetes in hospital

Zwelithini, his six wives and more than 28 children enjoyed a lavish lifestyle in a country where millions of people live in poverty.  Pictured: Zwelithini marrying his sixth wife Zola Mafu from Swaziland in 2014

Zwelithini, his six wives and more than 28 children enjoyed a lavish lifestyle in a country where millions of people live in poverty. Pictured: Zwelithini marrying his sixth wife Zola Mafu from Swaziland in 2014

The Zulus are the largest ethnic group in South Africa with over 11 million people.

Traditional rulers play a largely symbolic and spiritual role in modern South Africa, where they are constitutionally recognized.

They advise legislators and have a say in cultural management, land tenure and the administration of justice in their territories.

Under the white minority rule that ended in 1994, kings ruled over homelands where most blacks were confined to defuse broader national struggles.

In 2015, Zwelithini gained international notoriety for his anti-foreign remarks suggesting that immigrants were responsible for the rise of lawlessness in South Africa and that they should be deported.

The remarks were accused of fueling a wave of xenophobic attacks against mainly African migrants, which left seven dead, displaced thousands and rekindled memories of xenophobic bloodshed in 2008, when 62 people were killed. .

Zwelithini later denied stoking xenophobic sentiments, saying his remarks were taken out of context.

“If it was true that I had said that people should kill each other, the whole country would have (been) reduced to ashes,” he said.

Descendant of the almighty Shaka – who ruled the Zulu nation until his assassination in 1828 – Zwelithini revived the annual Reed Dance in 1984, where thousands of young topless women celebrate their virginity by dancing in front of the king.

He was most prominent among a handful of traditional rulers who hold sway over emotional issues such as land ownership in South Africa.

In 2018, he asked for an exemption for nearly three million hectares of royal land that the government had wanted to expropriate to redistribute to marginalized blacks without land and sidelined by apartheid.

As sole trustee of 2.8 million hectares (6.9 million acres) of land through the Ingonyama Trust, he wanted his lands to remain untouched, warning that “hell will break loose. If his ownership was contested.

Three years ago, the outspoken king sparked controversy when he spoke in favor of corporal punishment, saying it helped students perform better in school.

He also sparked a storm in 2012 when he called same-sex relationships “rotten,” drawing reprimands from rights groups.

“If you do, you must know that it is wrong and that you are rotten.” Same sex is not acceptable, ”he said at a ceremony marking the anniversary of the defeat of the Zulu army against British Imperial forces.

Charlene of <a class=Monaco looks on during the memorial to the late Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini at the Royal Palace KwaKhethomthandayo in Nongoma” class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

Charlene of Monaco looks on during the memorial to the late Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini at the Royal Palace KwaKhethomthandayo in Nongoma

Zwelithini's six widows were seated in the front row, their heads bowed covered in thick black lace.

Zwelithini’s six widows were seated in the front row, their heads bowed covered in thick black lace.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks at the memorial service for King Goodwill Zwelithini

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks at the memorial service for King Goodwill Zwelithini

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (right) chats with former South African President Jacob Zuma (left) during the memorial service for King Goodwill Zwelithini

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (right) chats with former South African President Jacob Zuma (left) during the memorial service for King Goodwill Zwelithini

In 1994, he raised fears of a secessionist conflict by assembling between 20,000 and 50,000 men armed with sticks – mostly supporters of the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) – to cross Johannesburg to support his call for sovereignty before the the country’s first democratic elections.

Protesters fought outside the headquarters of IFP’s main rival, the now-ruling African National Congress, killing 42 people.

Zwelithini appreciated the attributes of his royal status, receiving over 60 million rand ($ 4 million) in annual stipends from the state to help fund a lifestyle that includes several royal palaces, six wives and more than 28 children.

The Zulus are known for their vibrant culture, especially an ancient warrior dance performed by rhythmic trampling.

They don’t refer to a deceased guy as “dead”, but say the monarch “bowed”.


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