Home Lifestyle King Goodwill Zwelithini died of Covid-19-related complications

King Goodwill Zwelithini died of Covid-19-related complications

King Goodwill Zwelithini died of Covid-19-related complications
King Gioodwill Zwelithini steered clear of the controversial gay remarks he allegedly made last weekend at the inauguration of Inkosi Samkelo Cele at St Faiths near Highflats on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast yesterday. ÊPicture: THULI DLAMINI

King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulu nation in South Africa who suffered from diabetes, succumbed to covid-19 related complications last month in hospital where he was being treated.The king, 72, was the leader of South Africa’s largest ethnic group and an influential traditional ruler. He had been admitted to hospital in KwaZulu-Natal in March to monitor his ongoing diabetes condition. The king’s prime minister thanked South Africa for its “continued prayers and support in this most difficult time”. 

King Zwelithini was a direct descendent of King Cetshwayo, who led the Zulu nation during the war with the British in 1879. 

Throughout his 50 year-reign he was a strong advocate for preserving cultural identity. As custodian of Zulu traditions and customs, he revived many cultural practices including Umhlanga – also known as the Reed Dance ceremony. Seen by some as patriarchal, the ceremony is said to be aimed at celebrating virginity among girls and young women and raising awareness about HIV/Aids in a province with some of the highest rates of infection.¬†President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that he will be accorded a state funeral – normally reserved for presidents and former leaders. The president also described him as a “much loved visionary”.

King Zwelithini will be remembered as a straight-talker, He was on occasion critical of the governing African National Congress (ANC), accusing it of mishandling the country. In 2015, he controversially said foreign nationals must pack up and return to their countries – at the time his comments were blamed for fuelling attacks against foreigners in his province. The king later said the comments had been taken out of context and described the attacks as “vile”.

Author: Ibukun Babatunde

Lagos, Nigeria