King Goodwill Zwelithini has criticised people challenging his monarchy, saying he is the "one and only king in the kingdom of the Zulus".
In his first public address on the mushrooming of kings, Zwelithini said he was the rightful king of the Zulu nation.
"I'm a direct descendent of the legendary Iqhawe - champion King Shaka. And this makes me a champion of amakhosi."
He was speaking to a gathering at Sandanezwe in Donnybrook in southern KwaZulu-Natal during the installation of Inkosi Khulekani Mkhulise of abaThembu clan on Saturday.
Zwelithini lambasted those who challenged his reign and called on the Zulu nation to unite.
"Some people have been to the newspapers claiming to be king and we noted them. They must come out clear about their intentions.
" King Shaka's history will challenge those who want his position. We need to be proud and understand our history. We are living in a time when people are inquiring about the status of their kingship merely through reading history books."
Seven applications will be tabled to the Nhlapo Commission this month by members of various tribes seeking a status similar to that of the Zulu monarch. Initially 11 tribes applied but five had since withdrawn from the process.
Zwelithini said he was prepared to challenge any threat to his kingship.
"When someone threatened Shaka he was prepared to fight for his position. He asked them to come and take it and when they did he protected his territory in battle."