Ancient African King - King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu
King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu (born 27 July 1948 at Nongoma) is the reigning King of the Zulu nation under the Traditional Leadership clause of South Africa's republican constitution.
He became king on the death of his father, King Cyprian Bhekuzulu kaSolomon, in 1968. Prince Israel Mcwayizeni kaSolomon acted as the regent from 1968 to 1971 while the King took refuge in St. Helena for three years to avoid assassination. After his 21st birthday and his first marriage, Zwelithini was installed as the eighth monarch of the Zulus at a traditional ceremony at Nongoma on 3 December 1971, attended by 20,000 people.
In the power vacuum created in the 1990s as Apartheid and the domination of the country by White South Africans was abolished, the King was sometimes unable to avoid being drawn into partisan politics. The Zulu-dominated Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) initially opposed parts of the new constitution advocated by the African National Congress (ANC) regarding the internal governance of KwaZulu. In particular, the IFP campaigned aggressively for an autonomous and sovereign Zulu king, as constitutional head of state. As a result, the IFP abstained from registering its party for the 1994 election (a necessity in order to receive votes) in opposition. However, once it became obvious that its efforts were not going to stop the election (the IFP's desired goal), the party was registered. It demonstrated its political strength by taking the majority of the provincial votes for KwaZulu-Natal in said election.
Although the constitution makes the role of the King largely ceremonial, and it is incumbent upon him to act on the official advice of the provincial premier, on occasion South African President Nelson Mandela made efforts to bypass the IFP in negotiating with the Zulus, instead making direct overtures to the King (Mandela's daughter, Zeni, is married to Prince Thumbumuzi Dlamini, a brother of Zwelithini's Great Wife, Queen Mantfombi). Nonetheless, the IFP remained in power in the province until 2003.
During most of the King's reign his cousin (uncle in Zulu African reckoning), Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Prince of KwaPhindangene and founder/head of IFP, was the Zulu prime minister. But in September 1994 tension between the previously allied kinsmen peaked publicly as the annual Shaka Zulu celebration approached. Rumors that the King was maneuvering to replace Buthelezi as Zulu prime minister with former regent Prince Mcwayizeni, who had joined the ANC in 1990, seemed likely after the King announced that Buthelezi would no longer be his chief advisor, and simultaneously cancelled the holiday ceremony. For his safety, federal troops escorted Zwelithini by helicopter to Johannesburg. Although Buthelezi was then serving as Home Affairs minister in South Africa's Cabinet, President Mandela's efforts to broker a reconciliation failed. Buthelezi moved the event from Nongoma to Stanger, and addressed a throng of 10,000 of his Zulu supporters.
Subsequently, the King's spokesman, Prince Sifiso Zulu, was being interviewed on television at the South African Broadcasting Corporation's studio when Buthelezi and his bodyguards forcibly interrupted the programme, physically intimidating Chief Sifiso. The televised incident drew national attention and a public rebuke from Mandela, prompting Buthelezi to apologize to the Zulu Royal Family, Cabinet and nation for his behavior. Relations between Zwelithini and Buthelezi later improved.
King Zwelithini has cooperated as the law requires with the ANC since it took over the reins of government in KwaZulu-Natal. The King's finances are controlled by KwaZulu-Natal provincial authorities.
In 1989 he criticized the ANC leadership for not inviting him and Buthelezi to a rally welcoming back the Rivonia Trial defendants, who had been released after almost three decades of imprisonment.
As the constitutional monarch of the kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal, he is head of the Ubukhosi, the state-recognized institution of Traditional Leadership that consists of local chiefs. His leadership role also entails chairmanship of the Usuthu Tribal Authority and Nongoma Regional Authority, both established under the provisions of the KwaZulu Amakhosi and Iziphakanyiswa Act.
The King is chairman of the Ingonyama Trust, a corporate entity established to administer the land traditionally owned by the king for the benefit, material welfare and social well-being of the Zulu nation. This land consists of 32% of the area of KwaZulu/Natal.
As the custodian of Zulu traditions and customs, King Zwelithini has revived cultural functions such as the Umhlanga, the colourful and symbolic reed dance ceremony which, amongst other things, promotes moral awareness and AIDS education among Zulu women, and the Ukweshwama, the first fruits ceremony, which is a traditional function involving certain traditional rituals including the killing of a bull. The latter ceremony was subject to a lawsuit brought in November 2009 by Animal Rights Africa, alleging that the method of killing the animal was cruel and barbaric. He has also traveled abroad extensively to promote tourism and trade in the West for KwaZulu-Natal, and to fundraise for Zulu-supported charities, often accompanied by one of his queens consort. On such occasions he is frequently officially hosted by local Zulu organizations, and grants audiences to Zulus living abroad.
In June, 1994, the University of Zululand conferred an honorary doctorate in agriculture upon the King. He is Chancellor of the South African branch of the American-based Newport University. In March 1999 Coker College of South Carolina awarded him an honorary doctorate in law. During the first half of 2001 he was inaugurated as Chancellor of the M L Sultan Technikon in KwaZulu-Natal.
The King's authorized biography, King of Goodwill, was published in 2003. The musical dramatization of this work premiered at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg on 16 March 2005.
The King spoke at The Synagogue Church Of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2004 regarding the importance of trade and peace.-
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