'We want our kingdom back'

"I AM KING to my people," says Prince Melizwe Dlamini of the Nhlangwini Traditional Council.

"I AM KING to my people," says Prince Melizwe Dlamini of the Nhlangwini Traditional Council.

Speaking at Ekujuleni Royal Residence near Durban yesterday, Dlamini said he had no aspirations to the Zulu throne after his clan's application for kingship.

Dlamini said he whole-heartedly followed the wishes of his clan, who referred to him as Bayede and His Majesty. These salutations were usually reserved for Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini.

He said he had no aspirations to the Zulu throne because he was the recognised head of the "big Dlamini nation".

His comments came amid an outcry from some quarters that there "was only one Bayede" in KwaZulu-Natal. Dlamini said "not all people in KwaZulu-Natal are Zulus".

He said there were Nhlangwinis from the Embo-Nguni tribes as well as the amaHlubi and AmaZulu in the province.

"It is a historical absurdity to suggest that KwaZulu-Natal is only populated by Zulus," he said.

Dlamini said this was a "mythological creation that entrenched itself in the historiography of former British colonial writers in order to serve certain colonial interests". He said the Dlamini Kingdom, comprising many of the Embo-Nguni tribes, was destroyed by the British in 1846.

"We want our old Natal-based kingdom back. We are not apologetic to anybody on this call.

"We want to revive the history of our ancestors and the heritage of all our people who populated this part of our country," he said.

He urged the government to be "resolute on this matter and that there must be no attempt to hide behind any political expediency arrangements". He said he had great respect for the Zulu Royal House, to which he was related through maternal lines.

"I seek no elevation nor do I have any aspirations for the Zulu throne. I am the recognised head of the big Dlamini nation in South Africa," Dlamini said.

Prince Mbonisi Zulu argued that there was only one Bayede in KwaZulu-Natal and that was King Goodwill Zwelithini, who was recognised by the province.

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