Letter From Mt Frere: King Misuzulu is a modern, tweeting monarch

Zukile Majova

To be honest, Black South Africa has always liked the idea of a common traditional monarch lording over our democracy.

It is a traditional institution which we can report naughty politicians to and has long been a kind of powerful figure to guide our young democracy.

The nation saw Nelson Mandela as more than just a president but its father figure, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu as its de facto spiritual leader.

Their departure has somewhat robbed us of our moral compass and now the cat is well and truly among the pigeons in our politics.

The ascension of Zulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini to his late father’s throne heralds a new era and a new dawn for the Zulu nation and South Africa’s traditional leadership in general.

As leader of over 15 million Zulus, His Majesty is the most powerful of all the rulers of the Nguni nations – Xhosas, Zulus, Ndebeles, etc.

He has a very real chance at asserting his influence across black South Africa if he becomes one with his people, feels their pain and begins to push their plight into the national discourse.

King Misuzulu was just officially recognised a few weeks ago but he has already launched the Zulu Royal Household into the modern world of social media and regular communication with his subjects.

Everything he does, including in his private life, is done publicly with live and regular updates on the King’s Instagram and Twitter pages.

Young people watched step-by-step as the King and his family paid lobola to his wife’s family and again witnessed the customary ceremony of uMembeso over the weekend.

This gift-giving ceremony is about the family of the groom giving gifts to the bride’s family after lobola has been paid.

The new king is also using social media to send regular messages of encouragement to his people, whom he still refers to as his father’s people (Nina BeSilo).

This week he used his Twitter page to thank everyone who was involved in the uMbembeso ceremony for his wife uNdlunkulu uKaMayisela.

In a recent tweet to the younger generation that is facing hardships including the high rate of unemployment he said: “Be thankful for each day. Every day has its own blessings. Nina BeSilo.”

This is a fascinating personal relationship that His Majesty is fostering with his people, and a refreshing posture that will hopefully be emulated by other traditional leaders.