Statement on the Funeral of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini Ka Bhekuzulu

By Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan and
Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation


Following the passing of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu, some very difficult decisions have needed to be made by the Zulu Royal Family.

As the nation will recall, when the late King’s father, King Cyprian Bhekuzulu ka Solomon, passed away in September 1968, the King was laid in state for several days while thousands of mourners came to pay their final respects. It was thus naturally expected that His Majesty King Zwelithini would likewise be laid in state.

Unfortunately, however, we are faced with the reality that South Africa and the world remain within the grip of a deadly pandemic. The national regulations which are in place, restricting the number of people who may gather, cannot be contravened, even in a time of extraordinary distress.

It would be unconscionable to allow His Majesty’s passing to become the cause of further deaths among His Majesty’s people. It has therefore been necessary to take the difficult decision for the late King not to be laid in state.

I therefore make an appeal, on behalf of the family, for mourners not to travel to Nongoma to pay their respects. It is vital that we avoid crowds gathering at this time, as this would place lives in jeopardy.

Moreover, as it is well established that funerals are a crucible of Covid-19 outbreaks, a decision has had to be taken regarding the funeral itself. We appreciate His Excellency President Ramaphosa’s announcement that His Majesty will be accorded a Special Official Funeral Category 1. It must be emphasized however that even State funerals have adhered to the present protocols restricting numbers. These protocols must be respected.

The Royal House itself has numbers in excess of what would be allowed in terms of regulations. It is therefore essential to impress upon people that the funeral will not be open for all to attend.

As a Special Official Funeral, it will be broadcast live so that the nation might honour His Majesty from their homes. We ask, with all due respect, that mourners therefore stay at home and use this time to pray.

These are extraordinary times which will not be forgotten in the collective memory of our nation. In this historic moment, we are bound by the need to protect the lives of the late King’s relatives and all his people.

These decisions are not taken lightly, and will accordingly be strictly upheld.

An announcement on the date for the funeral will be communicated in due course.

The Hon. Mr Mkhuleko Hlengwa MP
071 111 0539