South Africa’s Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini who died this month at the age of 72 has been buried at a private ceremony on Thursday in KwaZulu-Natal
He died after staying in hospital for weeks due to a problem with his blood glucose levels. His health took a turn for the worst, the royal house said leading to his death.
Many mourners have visited the palace to pay their respect ahead of his burial. His funeral has been relatively low-key due to the coronavirus pandemic.
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa paid tribute saying “A huge tree has fallen. Moral courage was one of his noblest virtues”.
President Ramaphosa said it has been difficult for the nation to bid farewell to one of the country’s most revered leaders.
He described the late monarch as a repository of culture saying the king is “not only defended and advanced the interests of the Zulu people but advanced their culture, customs, the traditions and a deep sense of identity.”
“On behalf of the people of South africa, I express my deepest condolences to the royal family and the Zulu nation on this profound loss,” Ramaphosa said.
The king was born on July 14 1948 in Nongoma, northern KwaZulu-Natal and was the eldest son of King Cyprian Bhekuzulu and his second wife Queen Thomo.
When his father died in 1968, King Zwelithini assumed control of the throne just at the age of 20.
He was not crowned until 1971 after he went into hiding outside the kingdom following a plot to have him killed.
King Zwelithini was the longest serving monarch of the Zulu Kingdom, his reign spanning over five decades.