Wena weNdlovu, Bayede!
The country woke to the sad news of the passing of His Majesty, King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu on Friday. With messages of condolences flooding the Royal family and nation at large. A King close to his people and an advocate for unity, following a reign of almost half a century, succumbed to diabetes-related complications at the Chief Albert Luthuli Hospital.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said the late King will be laid to rest with the Special Official Funeral Category 1 and will be accorded military honours. The King will be laid to rest, traditionally known as ukutshalwa in isiZulu (directly translated to ‘planted’) at a private Royal Family service.
Accompanying the procession from the mortuary and other rituals until the body is planted will be amabutho, Zulu regiment who defended against raiders and provide protection.
“Wherever the King is, amabutho will be there and even here amabutho will carry the King right up to the palace because they have an important role. In fact, when it comes to the funeral although it is secret, amabutho form part of the funeral of the majesty, everything is performed by amabutho”; said spokesperson for the King, Prince Thulani Zulu.
Isilo Samabandla became the reigning King of the Zulu nation following the death of his father, King Cyprian Bhekuzulu, in 1968. However, Prince Israel Mcwayizeni was appointed as the regent while the young Zwelithini completed his education. In a traditional ceremony attended by over 20 000 people in December 1971, would be the day the eighth Monarch of the Zulus King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu would begin his reign under the Traditional Leadership clause of South Africa’s constitution.
King Zwelithini was known to have revived ancestral traditions such as Amahubo traditional Zulu hymns as well as the Reed Dance. A dance procession by thousands of young maidens carrying reed sticks to the King’s palace each year to celebrate their preparation for womanhood.
Remembering the King, many mentioned his deep religious convictions, he would end his speeches with quoting bible scriptures and enjoyed playing the organ.
Musician Mbuso Khoza who honoured Isilo Samabandla through Amahubo said he will remember the late King for his love for his people. “For his love for God and as he explicitly announced that he is a Christian and everyone needs to remember that we belong to Jesus and for me that was also being able to bring the stability they need to know God because knowledge for self is about knowing who created you” , said Khoza
Click here to watch the Honouring Isilo Samabandla through Amahubo.
The official memorial service will take place at the Khethomthandayo Royal Palace in Nongoma on Thursday, 18 March 2021, starting at 10.00 am. The royal family has emphasised that crowds will not be allowed during the memorial service as per the COVID-19 regulations.