King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulu nation in South Africa has died on March 12 in hospital where he was being treated for diabetes-related issues. The king, 72, was the leader of South Africa’s largest ethnic group and an influential traditional ruler.
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi made the tragic announcement that the king took his last breath at the hospital on Friday morning. He later told SABC’s Ukhozi FM that the monarch, who was being treated for diabetes in the ICU, succumbed to Covid-related illnesses.
The monarch had been admitted to hospital in KwaZulu-Natal last week 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”.
Scores of amabutho, or Zulu warriors, traditional leaders, hospital staff and members of the public sang, danced and ululated as the body of the late Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini left the Inkosi Albert Luthuli hospital on its way to Nongoma on Saturday morning, March 13.
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.
The Royal Family has appealed to mourners not to travel to KwaNongoma to pay their last respects.
President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a special official funeral for the King and will be broadcast live to allow the nation to honour Him from homes.