South Africa, the controversial Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini was installed as the eighth monarch of the Zulus. After the death of his father in 1968, Zwelithini feared an assassination attack and went into hiding for three years and returned to South Africa in 1971. The Zulu king has six wives and 27 children. The Zulu nation is the largest ethnic group in South Africa.
The king is known for extravagance, and the royal household expenditure is managed by the Royal Household Trust. Expenditure by the king and family are not public and a carefully guarded secret. Toward the end of 2014 local South African media reported that the King had splurged the ZAR54 million allocated for the year and seeking additional funding to meet other requirements. The report detailed expenditure on the King’s palaces, stipends for his six wives, traveling and education. The education bill covers tuition, private schools and boarding for some of the King’s children.
King Goodwill Zwelithini is no stranger to controversial statements. Speaking at a meeting during January 2012, Zwelithini said, “same-sex marriages were rotten.” The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) condemned the remarks, and President Jacob Zuma reprimanded the king for making this statement. After an uproar, the Royal Zulu Household said the King’s comments were incorrectly interpreted and that the King did not condemn same-sex marriages but raised a concern about the state of ethical deterioration in South Africa.
Perhaps the controversial statement the King made in March 2015 was by far the worst. The King said foreigners should go back to their country. The king acknowledged that African countries had helped the African National Congress (ANC) during the liberation struggle and that it should not be an excuse to create situations where locals are inconvenienced. A week later, President Jacob Zuma’s son advocated the King’s call for foreigners to leave South Africa.
Xenophobia attacks rocketed across South Africa, and several people lost lives through unnecessary violence. The government set up refugee camps and assisted with the repatriation of foreigners leaving South Africa. African countries condemned the attacks and eventually the government deployed the Army to help quell the violence.
At a meeting last week, the King denied the statement and again said it was a misrepresentation. The king called for peace and asked the South Africans to protect the foreigners.
The king’s speech was derogatory and words of incitement. President Zuma and the ANC government have laid the blame for xenophobic attacks everywhere expect at the real source the Zulu King. The political importance of the king is evident to the ANC government party.
A black Friday protest in Malawi by human activists forced South African shops to close down in protest of the recent xenophobic attacks. The aim of the protest was to illustrate the cold-blooded attacks against foreigners in South Africa.
Nigeria and South Africa are the two main powerhouses in Africa and as a result of the recent xenophobia attacks, tensions between the countries are brewing. The Nigerian Senate are calling for an investigation of King Zwelithini’s remarks by the International Criminal Court. It is believed that the remarks made by the King incited the recent violence in South Africa. Civil rights groups and social network activists are horrified by the graphic images of foreigners being attacked in a savage manner. The ANC government are criticized for the manner in which they dealt with the attacks and the lack of sincerity surrounding the attacks.
Most African countries condemn the outbreak of attacks. Somalians, Zimbabweans and Ethiopians foreigners were among those attacked during the xenophobia rage. Africans are outraged by the shameful and senseless violence. Have the South African Zulus gone completely insane ganging up on fellow Africans, butchering, burning and stealing.
Ethiopia was one of the first African countries to assist the ANC during the liberation period and offered support and protection. Africans across the continent are annoyed that the ANC government have forgotten the history and the fight against Apartheid. Africans are questioning if the violence reflects a failed system under a corrupt government controlled by whites.
The SAHRC are investigating the remarks made by King Zwelithini and have received a serious of violent threats. SAHRC have implemented stronger security measures in the wake of threats to burn down the offices. The group sending threatening messages want the SAHRC to stop investigating the King.
Africa and the rest of the world are angry with South Africa, and this does distress the tourism business. Jobs will be lost, diplomatic relationships can turn sour. Economy growth can be disturbed. After all of this, who will get the blame, Jan van Riebeeck, apartheid and whites will ultimately be the target of blame. Somebody must take the responsibility, it is not the Zulu King, it is not the son of President Jacob Zuma and it is not the ANC government.