Zulu king baptised as Shembe church member

King Misuzulu was officially baptised as a Shembe member this past weekend at the royal house. Picture: King Misuzulu (Instagram)

King Misuzulu was officially baptised as a Shembe member this past weekend at the royal house. Picture: King Misuzulu (Instagram)

Published Jun 13, 2024


Cultural and indigenous expert, Dr Nomagugu Ngobese says King Misuzulu KaZwelithini, being an official member of the Shembe church, signifies defying colonial religious beliefs.

This is after the King was baptised as a Shembe member at the royal house at Kwakhangelamakengane in Nongoma, Kwazulu-Natal on Sunday.

The king’s religious ceremony was witnessed by scores of Shembe congregants, including the king’s wives, family and royal council.

“There is nothing wrong when the king joins the Nazareth church. The church is one of the churches that follows all the traditions of the Zulu kingdom. The king’s baptism was relevant, because the church is a shield to the [Zulu nation] rituals.

“Right now, in South Africa, we are in the renaissance where people are going back to who they are, they want to conform to their ancestors’ legacy. So, it is a pleasure and we applaud His Majesty, because we had ‘uMvelinqangi’ (God)- He was- here until all these foreign churches came here to manipulate and exploit indigenous people in their own land,” said Ngobese.

Furthermore, the king was baptised by Shembe leader, Unyazilwezulu (Mduduzi Shembe) and later during the event, was ordained with the Shembe red robe.

An article by Scrolla Africa mentioned that His Majesty disbanded the Anglican Church. In contrast, members of the royal family, including his mother Queen Mantfombi, are long standing members of the British church.

The Zulu Traditional Prime Minister, Reverend Thulasizwe Buthelezi deemed the king’s baptism as a blessing and anointing to the King if he were to encounter those who threaten the throne. Buthelezi is alluding to the current legal battle of the rightful heir to the throne between the king and his brother, Prince Simakade Zulu.

“In the past, Zulu kings were baptised in a Christian religion. The [late] king of Osuthu, Zulu nation, 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,” said Buthelezi, citing from Scrolla Africa.

Prince Simphiwe Zulu from KwaMinyamanzi Royal House concurred with Buthelezi, noting that the king’s baptism was a first of its kind and a historic moment, as it took place in public.

“The king, as a young man, did not hide his belief towards Shembe religion. He was very vocal regarding his stance on the church, that he chose to believe and follow the Shembe congregation. The public will for the first time witness a king’s baptism, which is a historic moment,” said Zulu.

Asked if the King’s baptism would garner support from the church against Prince Simakade, Ngobese said: “The king’s choice of baptism has nothing to do with the throne. Yes, people are concerned [about the throne], but the church and the throne are two diverse things.”

The Star

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