The Zulu nation is still in mourning following the recent passing of King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu. The king passed on on the 12th of March at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban. Initially, it was reported that he had succumbed to diabetes after a long battle with the disease. However, it was later said that his passing was due to covid-19 related complications.
Less than two months before the king passed on, and two weeks before being admitted to hospital, he offered his condolences to those who had lost their loved ones to the covid-19 pandemic. Listening to his message now, it is as if he was consoling the Zulu nation about his own passing.
“Ngithi awu, anginikhalele nonke Zulu. Lalani ngenxeba bantu bakababa. Ukhona uNkulunkulu. Ukhona uNkulunkulu, uyena ongumsizi, nomduduzi, nomvikeli nomnqobi ongasinqobela lesisifo esingenamahloni, esinamanyala. Wanamanyala covid. Hamba ezweni lethu,” King Zwelithini said.
Loosely translated, his message says: “I am with you in mourning Zulu. Be comforted my Father’s people. There is God. He is the helper, comforter, protector and the conqueror who can conquer this shameless disease for us.” The last two sentences express the king’s wish for covid-19 to vanish from our country.
His Majesty said these words on uKhozi FM in January as part of his tribute to radio and TV legend Bhodloza Nzimande, who passed away on the 15th of January due to covid-19. This is likely the king’s last message to the Zulu nation, which makes it historically significant.
King Zwelithini made history as the longest-serving king of the Zulu nation. Although his coronation took place in 1971, he became king in 1968 following the passing on of his father King Bhekuzulu kaSolomon.
It is not yet known who King Zwelithini’s successor will be. His third wife Queen Mantfombi Dlamini will act as regent of the Zulu nation until the 3-month mourning period is over and the next king is appointed.
As per tradition, the king was interred at midnight in a secret location, on the 17th of March. He is survived by six wives and 28 children