SADTU statement on the death of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini

13 March 2021

The South African Democratic Teachers'Union (SADTU) joins the Zulu nation and millions of South Africans in mourning the death of the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu. King Goodwill passed away in hospital early morning of Friday 12 March 2021.
As a union that is fighting for the de-colonisation of education in South Africa, the development of indigenous languages into languages of instruction, and for history to be made a compulsory subject in schools, King Zwelithini is one of those who made us feel that this could be achieved.

A custodian of Zulu traditions and customs, he ensured these were observed but also moved with times to ensure that the Zulu nation adopted progressive customs like the circumcision of young men as a response in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
King Zwelithini ensured that the isiZulu language was kept alive through the use of the language in the many public gatherings he addressed. If he addressed in other languages, copies of his speech in isiZulu or vice-versa would be disseminated. He proudly wore his Zulu attire and made it fashionable to wear African outfits long before the current trend.

A custodian of the history of the Zulus, King Zwelithini would never tire to remind everyone of the bravery of the Zulu people in the face British colonialists and Afrikaners. He did this by ensuring that the Zulu nation always commemorate these battles such as the Battle of Isandlwana and Battle of Ncome (Blood River).

A proud Zulu, King Zwelithini however, recognised and respected all the cultural and religious groups in KwaZulu Natal. He even celebrated and observed some of their ceremonies. This has contributed immensely towards promoting social cohesion in the province.

As the longest serving Zulu monarch who ruled for more than 50 years, his reign spanned the apartheid era until the dawn of democracy. He also led the Zulu nation through the turbulent late 80s and early 90s when the province of KwaZulu-Natal was mired in political violence which saw thousands of his subjects lose their lives. He rose above party politics and called for peace and tolerance.

Lala kahle Wena kaNdaba, Silo samabandla, Bhejane phum'esqiwini!

ISSUED BY: SADTU SECRETARIAT

CONTACT:

General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke: 082 783 2968
Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi: 082 709 5651
Nomusa Cembi, Media Officer: 082 719 5157