Buganda kingdom has eulogized the king of the South African nation of Zulu, King Goodwill Zwelithini who died Friday aged 72.
He was being treated with complications related to diabetes.
Buganda kingdom Premier Charles Peter Mayiga described Zwelithini as a steadfast friend to Kabaka Ronald Mutebi.
Zwelithini’s open ties with Mengo first manifested in 1995 at the second coronation of Kabaka Mutebi when at Kololo air strip, he presided over as Kabaka’s special guest.
“Because of his significance, the Lukiiko (Buganda Parliament) convened a special session which he attended,” Mayiga said in a press conference on Friday at Bulange Mengo.
The demise of King Goodwill was officially announced by his premier, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
He had been in in KwaZulu-Natal since last week after intensity of his diabetes condition.
He ascended to the throne in 1971, becoming the 8th king of the dynasty of King Shaka Zulu.
“He has been very close to the kingdom of Buganda and a close confidant of our King. It may be recalled that during the commemoration the second Kabaka’s coronation anniversary, in 1995, King Zwelithini came as Kabaka’s special guest,” Mayiga said.
Zwelithini and Kabaka Mutebi in 1995 also jointly commissioned the then Entebe Resort beach.
In August 1999 at the wedding of Kabaka Mutebi with Sylivia Nagginda, king Zwelithini attended a church service at Namirembe cathedral and the Mengo Palace grounds.
Kabaka Mutebi has also reciprocated by attending events in South Africa whenever he was invited by king Zwelithini.
“We are yet to get the full details of the farewell ceremony for the sendoff of the king, but once we get the details we shall see how the kingdom participates in paying our last respects to this great king who was friend with the kingdom,” Mayiga added.
The Katikkiro said Zwelithini has protected and sustained the heritage of the Zulu nation -wearing animal skin.
Mayiga said it was important in Africa to promote the continent’s heritage else external influence “decimates what we believe in.”
Zwelithini was a direct descendent of King Cetshwayo, the man who spearheaded the war between the Zulu nation and the British in 1879. He has reigned for 50 years and mostly remembered for preserving culture.
He has been an icon of straight talking and in his eulogy, South African President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, described him on Friday as a “much-loved visionary.”
Kabaka in Kenya
Mayiga also said that Kabaka Mutebi is in Kenya to meet with friends of Buganda kingdom. He did not name them. Last year Kabaka visited Kenya where he met President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga.
On Friday, Mayiga said the Kabaka visited Buganda Namasole Margret Siwoza who is hospitalized in Nairobi hospital.