Johannesburg – The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) has hailed King Goodwill Zwelithini for flying the flag of royalty and “his ocean of wisdom”.
The king died on Friday following a long hospital stay. He was 72.
Zolani Mkiva, from Contralesa, said the king’s passing was unexpected. He said it represented a loss for the country and the institution of traditional leaders.
Mkiva said the king was a man of respect who was not shy to share his wisdom.
“We are devastated at the untimely passing of His Majesty, this is so unexpected. To lose one of the giants of the institution of traditional leadership in the country and the world over. King Goodwill Zwelithini as we know him was an exemplary servant leader who led from the front and was an ocean of wisdom,” Mkiva said on Friday.
“We looked up to him and he carried the flag of royalty in the world and he was an embodiment of integrity and legitimacy of the institution of traditional leaders.
“He represented the spirit of those kings that were there when we fought the wars of dispossession and the wars of resistance. He was a custodian of our heritage and culture.”
The king would also be remembered for his loyalty and respect for people, Mkiva said.
“He was a great motivator and supporter of the congress of traditional leadership in this country. We always looked up to him and we have lost one of a kind. He will be remembered as someone who was down to earth who understood that in Africa we do not have subjects but we have people. He understood that traditional leadership was and is an organ of people’s power,” he said.
Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said the king had done well in his contribution in fight against HIV/Aids.
Dlamini Zuma also noted that the king was not shy to speak his mind.
The EFF also noted the king’s contribution in the fight against HIV/Aids saying he bravely listened to the science and encouraged Zulu men to get circumcised as a measure of preventing the spread of the disease.
UDM President Bantu Holomisa also noted this contribution by the king. Holomisa also lauded the king for his passion for agriculture and the environment.
The king’s body will lie in state, at his home from Friday, while the nation mourns his passing.