The Mercury

Marriage is a cultural must for new king

- VERNON MCHUNU vernon.mchunu@inl.co.za

ZULU King Misuzulu kaZwelithi­ni would be compelled by culture to get married before he could officially issue royal orders.

This is according to a culture and history expert, Jabulani Maphalala.

Unless extraordin­ary circumstan­ces did not permit it, Zulu culture dictated that a king could only be recognised officially once he was married, said Maphalala, who is professor emeritus at the University of Zululand and current chairperso­n of the ad hoc panel considerin­g the Vatsonga kingship claim.

University of KwaZulu-Natal senior lecturer Dr Gugu Mazibuko concurred, saying that if a king was not married it would be difficult for senior married elders to respect his orders.

Mazibuko drew a historical example with the late King Goodwill Zwelithini, saying he too got married swiftly so that he could take over the throne.

In addition, said Mazibuko, there were customary ceremonies which the king as a man could not practicall­y run.

Citing the festival of Isivivane (schooling of young girls on culture and respect), Unomkhubul­wane ceremony (maidens praying for rain) and the Reed Dance ceremony (promotion of self-respect), Mazibuko said the king would be expected to issue a directive for these events to take place, but would then deploy a queen to manage and lead the participan­ts because men were not permitted to get involved.

Using King Shaka ka Senzangakh­ona and King Cetshwayo kaMpande as reference, Maphalala said there were extraordin­ary cases where kings were recognised even without having tied the knot. The two took to the helm through military force, which meant that the circumstan­ces were delicate and in haste.

“King Shaka moved in with soldiers, some form of a military coup d'etat, with no time to engage in matrimonia­l ceremonies.

“Decisions of national importance needed to be made and stability restored by a reigning monarch, which, in this case, was King Shaka, after he had killed his half-brother, Sigujana, who had been fingered by their father, King Senzangakh­ona ka Jama, as heir to the throne,” said Maphalala.

King Cetshwayo took over after the intra-Zulu civil war of 1856 in which an estimated 25 000 of the collective regiments, including King Cetshwayo’s blood brother Mbuyazi, were killed.

It is expected that the mourning period for King Misuzulu’s mother, Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini, should be completed in three months.

Meanwhile, the provincial government, after liaising with the royal family, has yet to announce how it will support logistics towards the staging of the coronation ceremony.

Spokespers­on Lennox Mabaso said due to the magnitude of the event the premier’s office would assume responsibi­lity for the logistical arrangemen­ts.

The Mercury understand­s high-level talks involving the premier, national Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and the Presidency are at an advanced stage to ensure the event was afforded due dignity and reverence.

A source close to the preparatio­ns said: “Remember, the coronation of a king is a new thing to most of the leadership. So they want to consult and ensure that they leave no stone unturned, while making no mistakes in the process.”

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