The body of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini will not be laying in state ahead of his burial, the Zulu Royal Household has announced.
The King passed away in the wee hours of Friday, 12 March 2021, at a private healthcare facility in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). He was 72 years-old and had been admitted for high glucose levels.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a special official funeral for the King and the national flag be flown at half-mast at all flag stations across the country from Saturday morning until the evening of the funeral service.
Changes to King Goodwill Zwelithini’s funeral
The Royal Household has said that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, some necessary changes had to be made, pertaining to laying the King to rest. It said the decision to not allow the King’s remains to be laid in state, was a difficult one to make.
“As the nation will recall, when the late King’s father, King Cyprian Bhekuzulu ka Solomon, passed away in September 1968, the king was laid in state for several days while thousands of mourners came to pay their final respects. It was thus naturally expected that his Majesty King Zwelithini would likewise be laid in state,” it said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, however, we are faced with the reality that South Africa and the world remain within the grip of a deadly pandemic. The national regulations, which are in place, restricting the number of people who may gather, cannot be contravened, even in a time of distress”
Tributes have been pouring in for the King. KZN Premier Sihle he would be remembered as a loadstar and unifying forces across the country’s political and racial barriers. He has said they have lost a father and pillar of the nation.
Zikalala has described the King as a torch bearer during some of the country’s darkest times.
“We have entered the period of profound sadness in the history of KwaZulu-Natal and indeed that of the country. His Majesty made history as the longest serving among Kings of the Zulu Nation, but also presided over this nation during some of the most tumultuous and difficult periods in our history,” he said.