A South African court settles the rightful Zulu king. No coronation yet

A dispute for the next king of the Zulus was brought to court to halt the coronation. A judge ruled the rightful heir to the throne but it remains vacant for now.

Misuzulu KaZwelithini
Misuzulu KaZwelithini, center, wearing a black t-shirt | Twitter

A court of South Africa settled a dispute on March 2 on the succession to the throne of the kingdom of Zulu.

A KwaZulu-Natal high court judge ruled that Prince Misuzulu KaZwelithini is the “undisputed successor to the throne”. The eldest surviving son of the late Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, has a rightful claim to it according to South African laws.

The Zulu king has a largely ceremonial role in South Africa but holds great significance for the 12 million Zulus who make up the country’s largest ethnic group. The king also inherits control over large portions of land and a significant fortune, estimated at $20 million.

King Goodwill Zwelithini died last year after having held the throne since 1968. One of his wives was named as Queen Regent in the king’s will.

However, she died a month after the king, leaving her son, Prince Misuzulu, in waiting to be named the king. Two Zulu princesses went to court to stop his coronation claiming some of the king’s signatures on the will were forged.

Rightful heir if the will is authentic

A few days before the ruling, the fourth son of Queen Buhle accused his brother Prince Misuzulu of not “honouring royal traditions, living an extravagant lifestyle, being inaccessible and undermining the integrity of the royal household”, according to the Sunday Times.

The judge ruled Misuzulu was the rightful heir, giving the go-ahead for South Africa to witness the first Zulu coronation in more than half a century and the first in the country’s post-apartheid era.

The judge dismissed another claim from a wife seeking half the king’s fortune.

However, the judge suspended the execution of the late king’s will pending a court hearing to decide on its authenticity.

Moreover, the Zulu royal family issued a statement saying the throne will remain vacant until core family members and the Zulu Royal Council appoints a new king. “As per our custom and tradition, pronouncements of a new king cannot be made without the family performing our sacred rituals,” further considering customs have precedence. “Until such time that the specified rituals have been performed, and until such time that the core Zulu royal family members and the Zulu Royal Council have had their sitting to appoint a new king, it is clear to those who respect our culture and honor the law that there is no king on the AmaZulu throne.”

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