The body of Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini will lie in state at the royal palace in Nongoma, northern KwaZulu-Natal, for a “few days” while the nation mourns his passing.
This was announced by traditional prime minister to the king, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who was speaking to SABC on Friday morning.
Buthelezi said while anyone would be able to pay their respects to the king, Covid-19 protocols would have to be adhered to as “the death of His Majesty should not result in the death of anyone else”.
He said funeral arrangements would be announced in due course.
“The king’s body will be conveyed to the palace, hopefully this afternoon [Friday]. We hope he will lie in state for a few days so anyone in the nation who wants to pay their respects can do so.
“I must warn that this happened at a most difficult time because of Covid-19, so we should observe all the protocols. I know our people are devastated, as much as the royal family is devastated, but sadly one must remind the nation that we are bound to observe the protocols for Covid-19,” said Buthelezi.
At 72 years of age, King Zwelithini took his last breath in a Durban hospital on Friday morning, having made history as the longest-serving Zulu monarch after a reign spanning almost 50 years.
The institution of traditional leadership in KwaZulu-Natal said they had lost “pillar of strength, a proponent for peace and stability and a major source of wisdom”.
Chairperson of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders (PHTL), Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza, said traditional leaders are reeling after the tragic passing of the Zulu nation’s longest-serving monarch.
“We are shocked to the core by the news announced this morning. We are still coming to terms with the passing of the father of our nation.”
He said the PHTL had been hoping the king’s medical condition would stabilise and he would soon be out of the hospital.
“We had been hopeful for some time that Ngangezwe Lakhe would recover and continue to be the guiding light of the Zulu nation, but unfortunately the Almighty had other plans for him. We are very saddened and shattered by the loss of our king. We wish the royal household and the Zulu nation strength and courage during this difficult period,” said Chiliza.
BY: Orrin Singh