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KING OF GOODWILL (article first published : 2003-11-13)

His Majesty, King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu, is the longest-reigning Zulu king in modern history. His authorised biography, King of Goodwill, was launched in Durban a few months ago. Published by Nasou Via Afrika in July 2003, it is written by Isabel Cooke, Professor Otty Nxumalo and Professor Themba Msimang.

The book deals with the prophecy related to the Zulu Royal family by a soothsayer who came from afar with a message from the ancestors foretelling of the birth of a child who was surrounded by the spirits of three great Zulu Kings. During the birth, no bare hands could be allowed to touch the child who had to be delivered onto a white calico cloth. All care had to be taken with this infant who had to be nurtured and guarded against sickness since it had a special destiny.

King Goodwill’s mother died when he was ten and he was treated severely by his father, King Cyprian. He suffered the trauma of being excluded from his family and made to perform manual labour despite his princely status. His father died when he was 18 and he attended Bhekuzulu College, an institution for sons of traditional leaders. His uncle, Prince Israel, was appointed as Regent since Goodwill was too young to rule over the Kingdom. On hearing rumours within Royal Household circles that Goodwill was going to be assassinated, his elder sister Princess Nonhlanhla hid him in exile for two years until he had secured a bride and turned 21 at which time he was able to return to claim the throne.

The crowning of the 8th King was downgraded by the Apartheid Government who installed him as a mere Paramount Chief in a formal ceremony. He became a traditional King to his people through their second ceremony were he was anointed with the oil of sacred Kings. The Zulus saw him as the King that would lead them into the 21st century and democracy.

His 30 year reign has been fraught with intrigue within the Royal Household, suppression by the apartheid masters as well as his family and deep divisions within his own people.

The turning point for King Goodwill Zwelithini came when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and democracy came in 1994. His fight for freedom is paralleled with the fight of the majority against the oppression of the apartheid regime. The prophecy has been fulfilled. King Goodwill Zwelithini has vowed to uplift, unite and empower his people and also revive unique Zulu cultural heritage. He is fulfilling his destiny.

King of Goodwill is available at leading booksellers.




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