Durban – The fight for the Zulu throne took an unexpected turn on Saturday when the first-born son of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini, Prince Simakade Jackson Zulu, was ushered into the sacred royal at eNyokeni palace and unilaterally declared “King”.
The act by a handful of members of the Zulu royal family upped the ante in the fight for the throne which is already occupied by legally recognised King Misuzulu KaZwelithini, the first-born son of the late king and the great wife, Queen Mantfombi Shiyiwe Dlamini-Zulu.
The entering of the kraal is the most important ritual for the King as it is where and when elders get to report that the previous King has passed away and a new one has been crowned to lead the Zulu nation.
The elders also ask the ancestors to guide and protect him as he leads the nation.
WATCH: Three members of the community of Nongoma have just arrived singing at eNyokeni palace for the ritual of Prince Simakade entering the kraal to become King of the Zulus. @IOL pic.twitter.com/6KJ8D2P0in
— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) August 13, 2022
How everything unfolded?
Initially, it was Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi who announced that King Misuzulu would be ushered into the kraal on August 20 at KwaKhangelamankengane palace.
In the midst of that anticipation of the ritual, Prince Mandlakapheli Zulu, a member of the royal family in support of “King” Simakade announced that their candidate would enter the kraal a week earlier.
Indeed on Saturday, the ceremony went ahead even though it was poorly attended and there was no senior member of the royal family in attendance.
Even Prince Mbonisi Zulu, the brother of the late Goodwill Zwelithini who was last year at the forefront of crowning “King” Simakade, was not present.
He has since dumped him in favour of Prince Buzabazi Zulu from the KwaDlamahlahla royal house.
“King” Simakede’s game plan
Even though royal family members in support of “King” Simakade were hostile to the media because they wrongly believed that the media is “controlled” by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, some of them were able to open up regarding their game plan.
They still believe that King Misuzulu will be dethroned by the courts just as former Venda king, Toni Mphemphu Ramabulana, was dethroned when he was already in power.
This was in reference to the announcement made by Prince Mandlakapheli early this month where he clarified that all the legal setbacks that have been suffered by Prince Mbonisi Zulu in court, while trying to stop the coronation of King Misuzulu, have nothing to do with them.
It was during that time that he announced that they were still preparing their own court challenge against the official recognition of Misuzulu KaZwelithini as Zulu King by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
By staging parallel rituals and cultural events, the supporters of “King” Simakade told IOL that they want to ensure that when the court eventually rules in his favour, he is ready to take over the throne having undergone all the required rituals.
The upcoming court case
“King” Simakade’s backers have already roped in Advocate Johannes Hamman from Makhado, Limpopo, who helped with the legal dethroning of Ramabulana.
Their court papers have already been prepared and they are set to be filed in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria before the end of this year.
Who is the official King now?
King Misuzulu KaZwelithini enjoys all the perks of being the King of the Zulus. The budget of the royal household of R67.3m will partly go to financing cultural events only convened by him and maintaining palaces, not his competitor, “King” Simakade,
His backers said they would finance him until they have secured a court order compelling him to provide him with all the necessary support – including finances.
Having entered the kraal, supporters of “King” Simakade have set the cat among the pigeons as the nation now literally has “two Kings”.
Some, like musician Toya Delazy (a granddaughter of Mangosuthu Buthelezi), are saying they back “King” Simakade, while others, the majority, are backing King Misuzulu.
Those who are backing Simakade are claiming that South Africa is a plural and democratic country, and as such they have the right to bow before him and not be forced to recognise King Misuzulu KaZwelithini.
The end of it all
If by any chance, “King” Simakde wins his court case, even though the odds are against him after customary law expert, Judge Isaac Madondo, said he does not even qualify to be nominated for the throne, he can dethrone his half-brother, King Misuzulu.
However, it appears that King Misuzulu’s supporters, who are the majority right now, will do what Shembe church members did when they continued to worship Prophet Mduduzi Shembe even after courts said he was not the rightful leader of the traditional African church.
If he loses in court and King Misuzulu is affirmed as King and duly nominated by the royal family and recognised by Ramaphosa, it would spell the end of the road for him as he can easily be interdicted from calling himself King and convening cultural events.
He could be jailed for defiantly using the King’s title.