WHILE the Zulu Royal family is preparing for a crucial court case this week over the late king's estate, a contender for the throne, Prince Simakade Zulu, is a step closer to tying the knot after presenting gifts to his sweetheart’s family yesterday.
Members of the royal family and friends descended on Mtubatuba, in the north of KwaZulu-Natal, to present gifts to the Nkosi family. The ceremony, known as umkhehlo and umembeso, signifies an advanced stage in the betrothal process, with only a wedding date left to be set by the respective families.
Prince Simakade Zulu, the first born son of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini, who was born out of wedlock, is considered the rightful successor to the throne by the faction opposing de facto King Misuzulu.
Prince Simakade’s name was submitted to the KZN Premier’s office to be among those considered to be the next Zulu monarch.
This happened while issues over a successor were brought before the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
The matter is set to be heard on Tuesday and Wednesday, and proceedings will delve into the thorny issue of whether the signature on the late king’s will is indeed his.
This became an issue after his first wife, Queen Sibongile, and her two daughters, Princess Ntandoyenkosi and Princess Ntombizosuthu Zulu-Duma, challenged the validity of the will, saying it could not stand because they believed some of the signatures on the document were forged.
King Misuzulu was announced as the next heir to the throne during the reading of his mother’s will (Queen Mantfombi) in April, but the court hearing looks likely to determine whether he remains as the Zulu King.
The opposing faction have nominated Prince Simakade as the successor because he is the eldest son of the late King.
Being married, which is customary to be the king, will have Prince Simakade in readiness to ascend to the throne, should the court ruling favour his faction.
Gifts like blankets, appliances and sheep were presented to the Nkosi family.
Prince Mbonisi, speaking on behalf of the royal court, confirmed gifts were presented to the Nkosi’s.
He said the families were yet to set a wedding date.
Asked about their preparedness for this week’s court hearing, Prince Mbonisi preferred not to comment.
“We will wait for the instruction from our lawyers, they will tell us whether we need to be in court or not.
“But I must state that I am happy that this matter will be resolved. The late king (uMdlokombane) taught us peace, love and unity. We will stick to his lessons and protect the throne,” Prince Mbonisi said.
While Prince Mbonisi said they awaited direction from their legal team about attending the hearings, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the traditional Prince Minister to the Monarch and Zulu Nation, pleaded with Zulu people not to attend, in keeping with Covid-19 regulations.
Buthelezi also announced that neither he nor the King would attend proceedings.
“His Majesty the King, and all parties in this case, are well represented by senior counsel. There is no need for the King or me to be present, and our absence will not be prejudicial in any way.
“We have taken this decision based on the ongoing Covid-19 danger, as unnecessary gatherings could cause the further spread of the virus. It has been pointed out that the courtroom itself is limited in size, which will affect how many people are allowed inside.
“It is illogical for crowds to gather outside the court, either to give moral support to the King or for any other reason. This will risk lives and may be construed as an act of civil disobedience of precautions laid down by the government," he said.
Buthelezi added that the outcome of this hearing would be fully communicated once it was finalised.