Goodwill Zwelithini, the longest reigning King of Zulu Kingdom dies at 72
Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, who died at the age of 72, held the record for the longest reign of all Zulu kings. He had been in power for 50 years.
After being admitted to the hospital for diabetes-related disease, Zwelithini died on March12, 2021. Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the king’s traditional prime minister, declared that he had died of COVID-19 while preparing for his funeral. King Goodwill Zwelithini had six wives and 28 children at the time of his death.
Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu was born on July 14, 1948 and passed away on March 12, 2021. He was the reigning King of the Zulu nation under the Traditional Leadership Clause of South Africa’s republican 1996 Constitution.
When his father, King Cyprian Bhekuzulu, died in 1968, he succeeded to the throne. From 1968 to 1971, Prince Israel Mcwayizeni served as regent while the King took shelter in the then-Transvaal province of South Africa for three years to avoid assassination.
Zwelithini was installed as the eighth Zulu monarch on December 3, 1971, at a traditional ceremony in Nongoma attended by 20,000 people, after his 21st birthday and first marriage.
The Zulu Kingdom, also called the Zulu Empire, was a Southern African state in what is now South Africa. During and after the Anglo-Zulu War, the small kingdom gained world renown, not least for initially defeating the British in 1879 at the Battle of Isandlwana.
The King was chairman of the Ingonyama Trust, a corporate body established to manage the land traditionally owned by the King for the benefit, material welfare and social well-being of the Zulu people. This land makes up 32% of KwaZulu/total Natal’s territory.
As the custodian of Zulu traditions and customs, King Zwelithini revived cultural functions such as the Umhlanga, a colorful and symbolic reed dance ceremony that promotes moral awareness and AIDS education among Zulu women, and the Ukweshwama, the first fruits ceremony, which is a traditional event involving certain traditional rituals such as the sacrificing of a bull.
Animal Rights Africa filed a lawsuit in November 2009, arguing that the method of killing the animal was inhuman and barbaric. He has also traveled widely abroad to promote KwaZulu-tourism Natal’s and trade in the West, as well as to raise funds for Zulu-supported charities, often accompanied by one of his queens consort. He was often officially hosted by local Zulu organizations and given audiences to Zulus living abroad on such occasions.
The King was awarded an honorary doctorate of agriculture by the University of Zululand in June 1994. He was Chancellor of the South African branch of the American-based Newport University. In March 1999, he received an honorary doctorate in law from Coker College in South Carolina. He was named Chancellor of the M L Sultan Technikon in KwaZulu-Natal in the first half of 2001.
King of Goodwill, the King’s authorized biography, was released in 2003. On March 16, 2005, the Market Theatre in Johannesburg hosted the world premiere of a musical dramatization of this work.
In 2004, the King talked about the importance of trade and peace at The Synagogue Church Of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria.