Thousands of people gathered at Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban on Saturday, 29 October 2022, to witness the coronation of the 9th Zulu king, King Misuzulu kaZwelithini.
In this historic event, which was attended by dignitaries from many parts of the world, President Cyril Ramaphosa, acting on behalf of the South African government, presented a certificate of recognition to the Zulu monarch, affirming the legitimacy of the kingship of the 48-year old son of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu and Queen Mantfombi Dlamini.
Addressing the ceremony, Ramaphosa said, “As President of the Republic, I am here to hand over the certificate of recognition to His Majesty, King Misuzulu kaZwelithini. I do so to fulfill my duty under our Constitution, which affirms the role of our kings and queens.
“I am here to commit my government to working with His Majesty to change the lives of our people and to transform our rural areas into places of development and prosperity. I do so to recognize that our traditional leaders are the custodians of the cultures, customs and traditions that make us who we are.
“Today is a great day. It is also a blessed day. We pray that His Majesty’s reign will be a long and glorious one. May your hand be guided by the Almighty.”
In his acceptance speech, after greeting and thanking everyone for their support and/or attendance, the king said, “The throne is a covenant between the departed and the living and those who are still yet to be born. On the shoulders of the crown head lies hopes, prayers of the living and more importantly, those who are still yet to be born in our nation.
“Today I am addressing you and the world as the one who rests on the shoulders of hope for the future of the Zulu for their place under the sun and in the sun. I understand that history has chosen me at this time when the Zulu and other nations are facing several challenges. Among the challenges are poverty, unemployment, a trust deficit in government and traditional leadership structures, climate change, disasters, economic meltdown, food insecurity, famine, disease, that do not only ravage our people but also our economies.
“Having mentioned all the above challenges, I also understand the hand of history has chosen me at this time when conditions are ripe for the forging of relationships among other nations and communities to face these challenges. Upon my entrance into the kraal on the 20th of August [2022 at kwaKhangelamankengane Palace], I promised to work for you. I uttered those words with confidence, knowing that I have full support, and that this journey, I walk not alone, but I walk this journey with you and the rest of the world.
“It is my daily prayer that I be a catalyst and development of the Zulu, South Africa and the whole of united Africa. I believe that this will be possible if we walk together in our time. I am well aware that our history is incomplete, that of the isiNguni and other nations of Africa, it is incomplete without the history of Indians, the English, the Afrikaner and all the other races in South Africa and Africa as a whole, here in the land of Mthaniya.
“In the past years we have had the blessing of being led by a visionary king, with almost 50 years on the throne. King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuZulu, iSilo, was both the longest and eldest monarch. During his reign he ensured that the Zulu people and the monarchy is not only an institution for ceremonial occasions but also an institution of value, contribution to the country’s public service, social cohesion, cultural heritage, and economic imperativeness. His service underlined how tradition serves as a source of unity in the society, as tangible proof of common values which bind our communities together in our evolving times.
“My father upheld the timeless values upon which our province and country are built on, which are, tradition, respect, wisdom and knowing each other’s differences.
“Moving on, fate has decreed that I be king over the biggest nation in South Africa. … In the time that God has favoured me with, I commit, using numerical strength of the Zulus, to develop the country and the economy and promoting peace, reconciliation, first among the Zulus and also among South Africans, Africans, and then we move on to the rest of the world. Since South Africa is a multi-cultural society, I shall ensure that the Zulu culture and heritage are protected within my framework, of our country and in our constitution.
“… Mr President, I know the last few months have been a challenge also to yourself, but mine to you is keep soldiering on and keep moving forward with the Zulu people as you have done in the past with the late king, now with myself, your Excellency.
“The Ingonyama Trust, which I lead, spearheading development programmes, in rural communities – this will not happen without the participation of rural communities. I endorse the concept of Ingonyama Trust Rural Development Forum, an initiative started by the late monarch and supported by the African Union and the KwaZulu-Natal government. The forum is comprised of an informal network of traditional leaders, experts, research institutions, businesses, policy makers, so on and so forth. The uniqueness of this forum approach is found [in] its intention to drive rural development through points of departure, first that the traditional institutes, in all different forms and levels, should drive rural development. These are institutions that are integrated in the lives of rural residents, therefore better understood.
“[Cooperation] amongst ubukhosi, executive and legislature is of paramount importance. As the head of the ubukhosi and monarch of the province, I commit myself to ensure that ubukhosi, while autonomous, [collaborates] with executive and the legislature on the development and benefit of the people. I encourage my politicians to work diligently and honestly. You must be aware that you are the reflection on our democracy, which is tarnished when misbehaved, as seen in the trust deficit on politicians of our government.”
The king then closed his speech by thanking all those who played a role in ensuring that the coronation ceremony was a success and assuring the Zulu nation that his leadership would be characterized by wisdom and progressiveness.