JOHANNESBURG (AP) – King Goodwill Welitin, the traditional leader of the 12 million Zulu people in South Africa, was buried in a private ceremony early Thursday morning.
The 72-year-old Welshwoman died last Friday of diabetes.
For more than 50 years, Welytini has been the longest-serving monarch of the Zulu ulu nation, the largest ethnic group in South Africa with a population of 60 million. KwaZulu-Natal is home to most of the country’s Zulu people.
Historically, the Zulu nation resisted British colonial rule early in 1816-1828 under King Shaka Zulu ulu.
Welitini was an advocate of Zulu traditional customs, one of South Africa’s most influential traditional leaders, holding no political office but with significant influence, especially among the rural population of South Africa. He is credited with encouraging public speaking to public education to control the HIV / AIDS epidemic that was rampant in South Africa in the 1980s and 1990s.
After the funeral, President Cyril Ramafosa was among the speakers at the memorial service, praising the king.
“It was during his time that the Zulu nation achieved harmony and peace. “It was during his reign that his people, along with all the people of our country, realized the dream of getting rid of the injustices of colonialism and apartheid,” Ramafosa said.
Other participants at the memorial included former President Jacob uma uma, who is a Zulu ulu, and Princess Charlene, a South African from Monaco.
Welitini was praised for his role in helping end the political violence that engulfed KwaZulu-Natal before South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994. He is credited with encouraging Ulus to run in the elections, calling for violent attacks. all over the country.
However, Wellitini’s legacy remained unchallenged, with the royal family threatening to sue the City Press this week for its harsh opinion on the king’s rule.
In the article, City Press editor-in-chief Mondley Makhanyan accused accused Welitini of being a puppet of South Africa’s former apartheid white minority regime before it became a democracy.
Makhanyan claimed that the governor was responsible for many deaths because he collaborated with the apartheid regime, Prince Mangosut Butelezi, leader of the Inkata Freedom Party, to assimilate an independent Zulu state and to reject democratic reforms.
The Zulu ulu royal family has issued a statement condemning Makhanya’s allegations as a “vulgar lie” and saying it would take “the necessary steps when the mourning is over”.
The royal family will meet to decide who will succeed.