Who will be king?

CityPress - - News - ATHANDIWE SABA athandiwe.saba@city­press.co.za

Two fac­tions, one na­tion and lots of con­fu­sion – that sums up the right royal rum­pus hap­pen­ing in­side the Thembu royal fam­ily.

By late yes­ter­day, no one seemed to know who would suc­ceed con­tro­ver­sial King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, who was im­pris­oned af­ter hand­ing him­self over at Mthata’s Welling­ton Prison just be­fore mid­night on Wed­nes­day.

Soon af­ter Mthatha’s East­ern Cape High Court re­fused to ex­tend his bail, Daludumo Mti­rara, spokesper­son of the royal fam­ily for the king­dom of abaThembu, which op­poses King Dalindyebo, re­leased a state­ment say­ing a new king had to be cho­sen by the fam­ily and the el­ders.

But other mem­bers of the di­vided fam­ily – in­clud­ing Mfundo Mti­rara, King Dalindyebo’s spokesper­son, and Nkosi Patek­ile Holomisa, the deputy min­is­ter of labour and pres­i­dent of the Congress of Tra­di­tional Lead­ers of SA – were ap­par­ently caught un­awares.

“There are two groups: those who sup­port the king and those who have wanted to de­throne him. We were not aware of th­ese meet­ings,” said Mfundo Mti­rara be­fore re­fer­ring City Press to King Dalindyebo’s younger brother, Prince Si­ganeko Dalindyebo, for com­ment.

Speak­ing on the prince’s be­half, Phan­dul­wazi Mhlontlo said King Dalindyebo’s chil­dren had been in a meet­ing for most of yes­ter­day, de­cid­ing what the next step would be.

This meet­ing, he said, was held af­ter Daludumo Mti­rara’s state­ment that their side of the fam­ily would need to de­cide on the suc­ces­sor to the throne.

This has sown con­fu­sion in the royal ranks be­cause King Dalindyebo al­ready anointed his suc­ces­sor as 23-year-old Prince Ave­nathi.

“They were talk­ing about how the Thembu na­tion would go forth, as the de­ci­sion to ap­point Ave­nathi was pre­ma­ture,” said Mhlontlo.

“On Wed­nes­day, the greater Dlomo royal fam­ily will meet to fi­nalise the de­ci­sion of who will suc­ceed the throne. Then the na­tion will be in­formed.”

Mhlontlo said he knew noth­ing about any other meet­ings planned by the op­pos­ing fam­ily fac­tion.

But late yes­ter­day, Daludumo Mti­rara an­nounced the royal fam­ily would hold sev­eral meet­ings next week, in­clud­ing those to be at­tended by the King Ngan­ge­lizwe royal fam­ily, the greater Dlomo royal fam­ily, and the Thembu na­tion.

In a state­ment late yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, Daludumo Mti­rara slammed the “ex­ter­nal forces” which were “mis­lead­ing” the Thembu king­dom, say­ing the royal fam­ily held an “ur­gent” meet­ing on Fri­day night to “en­cour­age” the “sub­or­di­nate royal houses” to at­tend next week’s meet­ings.

“We may dif­fer in our think­ing dur­ing de­lib­er­a­tions, but we would like to as­sure the Thembu na­tion and the South African pub­lic that our tra­di­tion and cus­tom will bind us to find­ing com­mon ground,” he said.

“We dis­cour­age any form of di­vi­sions dur­ing this crit­i­cal pe­riod.”

In a state­ment on Fri­day, Daludumo Mti­rara is­sued a sting­ing re­buke against Prince Si­ganeko, say­ing he was a “ju­nior mem­ber” of the royal fam­ily and he could only in­vite any­one to meet­ings once he had cleared it with his se­niors, who in­cluded King Dalindyebo’s other younger brother, Prince Jongi­sizwe Mthandeni.

“The royal fam­ily for the king­dom of abaThembu would like to warn ex­ter­nal el­e­ments who ... mis­lead some of the chil­dren of [King Dalindyebo’s fa­ther], King Sa­bata Jonguh­langa Dalindyebo,” he fumed, adding the royal fam­ily “con­demns the mis­lead­ing con­duct of Si­ganeko Dalindyebo, who acted out­side our ma­tured cus­tom. His be­hav­iour is dis­re­spect­ful and un­ac­cept­able.

“The time for con­fu­sion and mix­ing of our cus­tom with western life­styles is over.”

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