Royal knot over vows

Young prince’s wed­ding is seen by some as just a way to prop up his claim as act­ing king while his fa­ther, Dalindyebo, serves a 12-year jail sen­tence

CityPress - - News - MSINDISI FENGU msindisi.fengu@city­press.co.za

Afac­tion of the abaThembu royal house has slammed the tra­di­tional wed­ding of King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo’s son Prince Azenathi as a “joke”. Azenathi (24) and his wife, Ongezwa “Usikhum­bulile” Zwedala (19), tied the knot dur­ing a tra­di­tional wed­ding at Bum­bane Great Place this past Fri­day.

Usikhum­bulile is the name given to Ongezwa as part of the tra­di­tional mar­riage when the bride­groom’s fam­ily wel­comes a bride.

City Press has learnt that Azenathi had to wed to prop up his im­age as the right­ful heir and fu­ture king of the abaThembu na­tion. He has been ap­pointed by his sup­port­ers in the fam­ily to act in the place of his fa­ther, King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, who is serv­ing a 12-year sen­tence at East Lon­don Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre in the Eastern Cape.

The king’s crimes in­clude ar­son, kid­nap­ping, as­sault with in­tent to cause griev­ous bod­ily harm and de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice.

There are two act­ing abaThembu kings, ap­pointed by two fac­tions of the Ngan­ge­lizwe royal fam­ily. An­other act­ing king is Azenathi’s un­cle, Mthandeni (47), who is the jailed king’s younger brother. He was rec­om­mended by the Tolo Com­mis­sion on Tra­di­tional Lead­er­ship Dis­putes and Claims as the ap­pro­pri­ate per­son to take the king’s place.

Azenathi’s ap­point­ment as the act­ing king, by a fac­tion of the amaDlomo royal fam­ily on Oc­to­ber 30, has been met with re­sis­tance from two other groups, one led by Mthandeni and the other group sup­port­ing Azenathi’s step­mother Queen Nok­wanda Dalindyebo, also to act in the king’s place.

Mthandeni has filed pa­pers at the Gra­ham­stown High Court to in­ter­dict plans by a royal fac­tion to crown the young Azenathi as act­ing king. Azenathi is ex­pected to op­pose the ap­pli­ca­tion in court on Tues­day.

Mthandeni’s sup­porter and royal house spokesper­son, Chief Dalidumo Mti­rara said Azenathi’s wed­ding was just “il­le­gal” and he de­scribed it as a joke. Mti­rara said it was telling that the abaThembu na­tion dis­agreed with Azenathi’s corona­tion, and ac­cord­ing to him, they shunned the wed­ding, mak­ing it look like “a fu­neral of a still­born baby”.

“It’s only close friends and chil­dren who at­tended the wed­ding, to feast on meat and drink booze,” he said.

“El­ders in Bum­bane were watch­ing from their doorsteps and did not at­tend. We did not bother to get de­tails of his wife be­cause we know this is umpuco [a fun game played by chil­dren]. We are thank­ful to the abaThembu peo­ple and South Africans be­cause they saw that this was not le­gal and part of our cus­toms,” Mti­rara said. He added that “the truth” would be re­vealed in court on Tues­day.

He warned Azenathi’s sup­port­ers, led by Prince Si­ganeko Dalindyebo, to stop their il­le­gal acts. Ef­forts to get com­ment from Si­ganeko were un­suc­cess­ful.

TALK TO US Who should be the act­ing king of the abaThembu na­tion – Azenathi, his un­cle Mthandeni, or Queen Nok­wanda?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the keyword ROYAL and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50

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