Skip to content

A Royal Sendoff for Famous South African King

Cloaked with animal skins, several hundred men in traditional warrior clothes are paying their last farewells to the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini who passed away on Friday at the age of 72 after serving for 50 years, at the Nongoma morgue in South Africa. The remains of the leader will be buried (“planted” as referred to in Zulu tradition) on Wednesday night at a private ceremony in the presence of men only, according to the Zulu rite. A national tribute will be paid to him on Thursday. Mobile phones in hand, jumping, singing and whistling as the procession passed, hundreds of people gathered in the small northeastern town of native Kwazulu province, images broadcast by Kenyan media showed. Adorned in colourful traditional neck and headpieces Zulu maidens danced rhythmically. The king’s body, kept in the city mortuary, is transported to the royal palace of KwaKhethomthandayo, one of the sovereign’s seven mansions, before the funeral begins. Mourners have been flocking to the palace to pay their last respects, despite calls from the royal family to avoid gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic. The name of King Goodwill Zwelithini’s successor is still kept secret. His last wishes must be read at the end of the funeral.