King Misuzulu asserts himself at reed dance
No reported clashes amid heavy police presence as rivals keep their distance
The reed dance was newly crowned King Misuzulu kaZwelithini’s first opportunity to stamp his authority as his detractors failed to stop him from performing the sacred act of accepting a reed next to the kraal at Enyokeni yesterday.
The king’s rivals, aligned to Prince Simakade, had warned of “bloodshed” if King Misuzulu went ahead with yesterday’s event at the Enyokeni royal palace. Enyokeni is where Prince Simakade’s supporters performed rituals recognising him as their rightful king ahead of King Misuzulu.
While Prince Simakade launched a fresh court bid to dethrone King Misuzulu this week, the king is now preparing for his official coronation on October 29 in Durban.
There were no reported incidents of clashes yesterday as there was a heavy police presence led by minister Bheki Cele.
Queen Zola kaMafu and Queen Thandekile Ndlovu were present, as were King Misuzulu’s wife, Queen Ntokozo kaMayisela, and his brothers, princes Simingaye and Bambindlovu.
Among the dignitaries were Zulu traditional prime minister Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, provincial government members and representatives of the KwaZulu-Natal House of Traditional Leaders.
King Misuzulu used his speech to offer an olive branch to his opponents.
He said those who were against him should accept that he is king. He said he and his supporters did not wish them any harm “but want them to come back home” to him as their king.
He sent condolences to the British royal family who will bury Queen Elizabeth tomorrow, thanking them for their support when King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu and Queen Mantfombi died. He sent good wishes to King Charles.
“With the protection of our ancestors, we will walk together working as a nation in light. I still have many years ahead,” he said.
The Zulu king pledged to help fight gender-based violence.
“It is a disgrace that KZN is leading in women and child abuse. I implore that we work together to root out this evil. We have also established an app called Iris to send a signal to the police when being attacked. We have distributed it at universities already.”
He thanked his uncle, the absolute monarch of Eswatini, King Mswati II, for sending maidens and izinduna (headmen).
The uMkhosi woMhlanga (reed dance) is a traditional event where a princess (referred to as intombi mhlanga) is accompanied by other maidens to present a reed to the Zulu king on the day of the ceremony.
The reed is presented to the king in a demarcated area only at Enyokeni royal palace.
Thousands of maidens from across SA, as well as 200 from Eswatini, were in attendance. Acting premier Nomagugu Simelane said the KZN government was committed to working with the king and the royal house to preserve Zulu traditions.
Simelane said premier Nomusa DubeNcube would soon visit the king to introduce the cabinet and discuss ways in which government and the royal family can co-operate.
Despite the confusion caused by a government memo on Friday which announced that the cultural ceremony had been moved to Kwakhangela palace, the home of King Misuzulu, maidens began arriving at Enyokeni.
The memo was quickly dismissed by Buthelezi and the KZN government.
King Misuzulu has another hurdle to clear before his coronation next month — a new court action by Prince Simakade who claims that throughout his life he has been regarded by the royal family as the rightful heir to the throne.
In a Pretoria high court application to review and overrule three decisions that led to King Misuzulu’s ascendance, King Zwelithini’s firstborn son wants the court to set aside:
A meeting at which King Misuzulu was nominated as heir to the Zulu throne;
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to recognise Misuzulu as king; and
Last month’s traditional coronation of King Misuzulu.
In his founding affidavit, the prince contends the “Great Wife”, Queen Mantfombi, acknowledged him as her firstborn, despite him not being her biological child.
Prince Simakade, born out of wedlock, was affiliated with the house of the late queen, from where the heir to the throne should customarily come. He says this accords him the same rights and obligations as the oldest biological son of the “Great Wife”.
It is a disgrace that KZN is leading in women and child abuse. I implore that we work together to root out this evil