By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
King Goodwill Zwelithini, was the eighth Zulu king, reigned for more than 50 years, making him the longest-serving Zulu monarch.
As the traditional leader of the Zulu nation, Zwelithini did not hold political office but had considerable influence over the country’s estimated 12 million Zulus, the largest ethnic group of South Africa’s 60 million people.
King Zwelithini was an outspoken critic of the government’s planned land redistribution policy, which could affect large tracts of land belonging to the Zulu nation.
The Ingonyama Trust controlled by the king owns 29% of the land of the KwaZulu-Natal province, about 28,000 square kilometers, or 10,811 square miles. It is estimated that more than 5 million people live on the land, most in rural farming communities. The land could be expropriated from the Zulu kingdom if the government follows some of the proposals it has made.
Historically, under the leadership of King Shaka Zulu from 1816 to 1828, Zulus gave fierce resistance to British colonialism.
Watch: Coronation of King Goodwill Zwelithini in 1971.
Video Courtesy of Channel N TV.