King Misuzulu ditches the Anglican Church for Shembe

By Celani Sikhakhane

The King of the Zulu nation has broken the royal family’s long-standing membership of the British Anglican Church and is now the first royal to be baptised as a member of the Shembe Nazareth Baptist Church, which is rooted in Zulu tradition. 

On Sunday the Zulu nation watched King Misuzulu KaZwelithini and other royal family members officially baptised and converted to the Shembe Church.

Thousands of Shembe Church members converged to the Nkunzana river in Nongoma, in the north of KwaZulu-Natal, to witness the baptisms.

The Anglican Church was first accepted by King Misizulu’s great-grandfather, King Mpande, in the 1860s when the British settled in Natal.

This religious history saw many royal family members turning to the Anglican Church – including the late King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu and his surviving wives, who are still members. 

During the era of the late King Zwelithini, the Anglican Most Reverend Bishop Dino Gabriel used to oversee Zulu royal ceremonies.

In 2022, after the controversial Anglican Church anointing of King Misuzulu at his coronation by the Anglican Bishop Thabo Makgoba, the late traditional prime minister Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi said that the Anglican rituals were performed because at that time King Misuzulu was a Christian and a member of the church. 

On Sunday night after the Shembe baptism of King Misuzulu, Traditional Prime Minister Reverend Thulasizwe Buthelezi described the conversion as a blessing and an “anointing spirit” to defeat those who want to dethrone His Majesty.

“Most of the past Zulu Kings were baptised in a Christian religion. The King of Osuthu was baptised on St Helena where he was exiled by the British.

“Therefore this is history for our reigning King to be baptised in the Shembe Church, more especially by His Holiness Unyazilwezulu (Mduduzi Shembe),” said Buthelezi. 

The Shembe church has a strong constituency of traditional leaders, which may strengthen King Misuzulu’s support. 

The Shembe Church was founded in 1910 by Prophet Isaiah Shembe in Inanda, north of Durban.

The Church has grown to over eight million members.

Pictured above: King Misuzulu KaZwelithini has been baptised as a member of the Shembe Nazareth Baptist Church, ditching the royal family’s affiliation to the Anglican Church. 

Source: Supplied 


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