South Africa. Zulu King’s aide killed by ‘unknown gunmen’ | New

South Africa. Zulu King’s aide killed by ‘unknown gunmen’ | New
South Africa. Zulu King’s aide killed by ‘unknown gunmen’ | New

The chief adviser and confidant of South Africa’s new Zulu king, Misuzulu kaZwelithini, has been killed after attending a traditional ceremony, a local official said on Sunday.

Dumisani Blasius Khumalo’s death comes amid a bitter succession battle in the Zulu royal family following the death of King Zwelithini last year.

The dispute has seen three princes vying for the post and while Misuzulu Zulu was crowned king last month, a rival prince is still contesting the decision.

What do we know about the murder?

Khumalo, who was 76, was killed by unknown gunmen on Saturday night shortly after attending the traditional Reed dance in Nongoma, regional legislature member Sihle Zikalala said in a statement.

Local media reported that Khumalo was attacked as he approached his residence.

It is unclear if his murder is related to the succession dispute. But Khumalo was responsible for settling disputes within the Zulu community.

Security had been tightened after opponents of the new ruler made threats and predicted a “bloodbath” if the celebration took place.

King MisuZulu described his grief saying “my heart is very sore that something like this happened to us”.

“Those who committed this crime, I swear to God they will be found.”

Khumalo’s son Daluxolo told local media that his father has no enemies.

“He was very loyal to the royal family and he worked closely with MisuZulu’s father before,” said Khaya Ndwandwe, an expert on Zulu culture.

What’s new on the succession battle?

King Misuzulu was crowned King of the Zulus last month and is expected to be certified by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in the coming months.

He took the title despite a legal objection from the late king’s first wife, which was overruled.

Another son of the late king, Prince Smakade, born out of wedlock, filed an urgent complaint this week claiming he was the rightful heir.

Smakade asked Ramaphosa to recognize him as the Zulu King instead of MisZulu.

The Goodwill Zwelithini brothers also claimed the throne for another candidate.

What is the reed dance?

The reed dance is an age-old ritual where girls introduce themselves to the king of the Zulus.

About 50,000 people attended Saturday’s ceremony in the small town of Nongoma, a Zulu stronghold in the southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal.

During the ceremony, the new king called for “peace and unity (to) rule” in the royal household.

The Zulus are the largest ethnic group in South Africa, numbering 11 million people, almost a fifth of the country’s population.

With material from Agence France-Presse

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