Kings, prince and a former president to attend ceremony for Zulu king

The interministerial task team briefs media on the state of readiness for the ceremony of the handing over of the recognition certificate to King Misuzulu kaZwelithini by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday.
The interministerial task team briefs media on the state of readiness for the ceremony of the handing over of the recognition certificate to King Misuzulu kaZwelithini by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday.
Image: Nqubeko Mbhele

At least five kings, a prince and a former president are expected at the official recognition ceremony of King Misuzulu kaZwelithini by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Moses Mabhida stadium on Saturday.’

During a state of readiness briefing, KZN premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube said on Thursday the interministerial task team, the KZN provincial executive council, eThekwini metro and the royal family committee were ready to roll out the red carpet for a number of international dignitaries.

Among foreign dignitaries confirmed for the event, themed Liphumile Ilanga KwaZulu-Natal (the sun has risen on the Zulu nation), are:

  • King Mswati III and four ministers from Eswatini;
  • King Gungunyane from the province of Gaza, Mozambique;
  • kings from Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe;
  • a prince and his spouse from Lesotho representing King Letsie III; and
  • former president of Botswana Ian Khama.

“The entire world bears witness to a sacred ceremony that for many people will happen once in a lifetime. The whole world is eagerly awaiting this event, steeped in historical significance, when you consider this event last happened in 1971,” said Dube-Ncube.

“This exciting event which has inspired a wave of hope across the length and breadth of our society after the dark autumn in 2021, when our nation was dealt a gaping wound {with the] demise of King Zwelithini and Regent Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu in close succession.”

Dube-Ncube said a capacity crowd of about 48,000 was expected to converge on the Moses Mabhida Stadium. This would include amabutho, oMama beSphithiphithi, izintombi and the public.

“Due to the magnitude and significance of this once-in-a-lifetime event, we are expecting a huge attendance — and as such an overflow venue has been arranged at the People’s Park, both in the east and west wings, and public viewing screens will be installed to accommodate as many people as possible.”

More than 80 buses and 200 minibus taxis have been arranged to bring the amabutho, oMama and izintombi to the event.

She said municipalities in the province have been requested to, where possible, provide additional transport, and eThekwini has confirmed the procurement of 100 additional buses for residents.

Access to the event for the public will be on a first-come, first-serve basis and gates will open from 7am. She said when the stadium had filled, the public would be directed to the overflow areas.

Formalities will start with musical entertainment between 8.15am and 9.30am followed by the main programme from 10am to 1pm. Guests will then be entertained by another musical programme of cultural and contemporary dance, music and poetry.

Dube-Ncube said while the security cluster will provide an update after a site visit on Friday, Natjoints has been activated and is working closely with the police and the metro.

She added that while dangerous weapons will not be allowed, sticks, shields and spears by amabutho would be as "traditional gear is not a dangerous weapon".

Obed Bapela, co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) deputy minister, said while the SACP had indicated it would stage a protest over Mswati's presence at the event, the king was attending as a head of state and speaking as King Misuzulu's uncle.

The SACP said the party would use the event to highlight human atrocities allegedly committed by Mswati in his country. Demonstrators will be allowed to protest outside the stadium, Bapela said. 

On the expenses of the event, Dube-Ncube said: “We wish to assure citizens we have taken care to exercise prudence in spending resources for this event and in ensuring that every cent is spent wisely.”


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