AFRICANGLOBE – Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has said he wants the British royal family to offer compensation for the destruction of his ancestral home in the 19th Century.
King Goodwill has said the Zulu people are due compensation after the British army destroyed his great-grandfather’s Ondini Palace in 1879 during the British campaign to impose authority on the Zulu Empire.
The outspoken monarch said he felt no grievance towards the British ruler who had destroyed the palace but that: “It would be nice if the English kingdom would one day compensate us. It should be understood that I am an enemy with them,” the South African newspaper the Mercury reported.
The king made the comments at a ceremony for Isandlwana Heritage Village, a new Zulu cultural centre which will cost approximately 30million rand (£1,571,121) and hold a new royal palace.
A spokeswoman for the British royal family told reporters that King Goodwill’s statements were not a matter for the royal household to comment on and the issue was one for the British Government.
The king’s comments have not been taken overly seriously by historians in South Africa who have pointed out that the British royal family had little to do with the British Army’s campaign against Zululand.
Historian Ken Gillings told the Mercury that the British royal family did not sanction the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 and that it had been waged at the will of British high commissioner in Cape Town and the commander-in-chief for South Africa, Sir Bartle Frere.
“The British royal house was unaware of Frere’s decision to invade Zululand, so it would probably be a little unfair to expect them to compensate the Zulu people when Queen Victoria was in all likelihood unaware.
King Zwelithini, who has six wives and 28 children, is a unifying figure amongst South Africa’s Zulus, the country’s largest ethnic group, and is known for his often less than diplomatic remarks.
He was seen to stoke racial tensions between Zulus and foreigners in South Africa with a series of xenophobic comments at a community meeting in Pongolo in March 2015.
In January 2012 the king made a statements against homosexuality and was criticised by President Jacob Zuma over the comments. Zweluthini later claimed his comments were mistranslated.
By: Callum Paton