following a year of feuding over who should ascend to the throne of the country’s
most influential traditional monarchy.
King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini, a son of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini
who died last March, will undergo the traditional ritual known as ukungena esibayeni
(entering the royal village) to mark his installation as the new leader of the Zulu
The Zulus are South Africa’s largest ethnicity with more than 12 million people who
are mainly located in the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal.
The Zulu nation is historically recognized as having waged fierce resistance to British
colonialism under King Shaka Zulu from 1816 to 1828.
The ceremony is expected to be attended by thousands of Zulu people, including
members of the royal family, traditional leaders of other ethnic groups and members
of the Zulu nation.
It will proceed despite challenges from some members of the royal family who insist
that Misuzulu is not the rightful heir to the throne.
Misuzulu is the eldest son of Zwelithini with his third wife Queen Mantfombi
Dlamini-Zulu, who is said to enjoy an elevated status among his six wives as she was
born from the royal house of Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), the last
remaining absolute monarchy in Africa.
Queen Dlamini-Zulu held the title of Regent of the Zulu nation after her husband’s
death but died about a month later, naming her eldest son Misuzulu as the successor
in her will.
However, some members of the royal family are opposed to Misuzulu as the
successor, recognizing his eldest brother, Simagade Zulu ka Zwelithini, as the rightful
Last weekend, the rival family faction held the ukungena esibayeni ceremony for
Simagade even though it was not recognized by the rest of the royal family’s elders
who support Misuzulu as the rightful king.
To further confuse the situation, on Thursday Zwelithini’s three brothers held a news
conference in Johannesburg where they announced another of their brothers,
Buzabazi kaZwelithini, as their preferred heir to the throne.