Zulu king turns 60 in outpour of gifts, song

Sne Masuku and Mhlaba Memela

Sne Masuku and Mhlaba Memela

The Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, was showered with expensive gifts and congratulated by local and international prominent guests for being the longest serving Zulu king.

The king celebrated his 60th birthday in a series of events that started last week at different royal palaces in KwaNongoma in Zululand.

It was jubilation for the locals who mingled with dignitaries from the Royal Swazi family, Ghana, Germany and Switzerland.

They enjoyed a feast of music that included gospel and traditional renditions at Pongola Rugby Stadium.

There were expensive and luxury gifts of massage chairs and exclusive ranges of wines, including a Swiss bottle of wine named "Bayede" in honour of Zwelithini.

Provincial director-general Kwazi Mbanjwa, who was programme director, said South Africa had been blessed by having a leader of Zwelithini's calibre.

He said even those who do not regard him as their king must be happy and acknowledge the work he has done for the country.

MEC for finance and economic affairs Zweli Mkhize brought the king a gift of three Nguni cattle from the provincial government

Mkhize praised Zwelithini for the role he played during the political upheavals of the past and for preserving and reviving Zulu cultural practices.

He further thanked King Zwelithini for leading the fight against HIV and Aids.