King Misuzulu KaZwelithini: What is Ukungena Esibayeni?

It has been widely reported that King Misuzulu Sinqobile KaZwelithini will perform a ritual called Ukungena Esibayeni in preparation for his coronation on 24 September 2022. The big question now is what is this ritual about? 


Ukungena Esibayeni has been described as one of the most sacred royal customs in Zulu tradition. 

In every Zulu homestead, there is a kraal which is regarded as a sacred place where the family communicates with its ancestors. The same applies to every royal palace, even though many other sacred things are done there. 

In simple terms, it means that King Misuzulu will be entering a sacred kraal at KwaKhangelamankengane Royal Palace in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and there he will be introduced to the royal ancestors and the nation’s ancestors as the next AmaZulu King, following the passing of his father and mother Queen Regent, Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu. 

The king also had to hunt a lion ahead of the ritual which did not sit well with many who claim to be pro-animal rights despite such being done by trophy hunters all year round. 

King Misuzulu KaZwelithini with the lion he reportedly killed. Image: Timothy Bernard.

University of KwaZulu-Natal academic and cultural expert, Dr Gugu Mazibuko, explained the significance of the lion killing and entering of the kraal.

“It is very important for the King to kill a lion before his coronation because the King is always referred to as an ‘Ingonyama’ or ‘Isilo’ which mean ‘lion’. So he has to kill a lion and return with the lion as it symbolises his power and his greatness,” she told IOL.

In March this year, the Presidency announced that King Misuzulu was recognised in terms of Section 8(3)(a) and (b) of the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act, 2019

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa recognises King-Elect Prince Misuzulu as AmaZulu King


Meanwhile, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema has thrown shade to all those trying to dethrone King Misuzulu Sinqobile KaZwelithini saying he is the only king they know. 

Malema’s backing comes as the late King Goodwill Zwelithini’s brother, Prince Buzabazi was announced as king-elect by a certain faction in the Zulu Royal family while the late king’s first-born son Prince Smakade also performed rituals to be recognised as the new king for the AmaZulu nation.

Malema took to Twitter to show his support to King Misuzulu. 

“Iyodwa vo INkosi esiyaziyo, ISilo uMisuzulu KaZwelithini. He’s our only king; the rest is noises of scavengers and hyenas. To all ground forces, feel free to attend tomorrow’s event. Wena weNdlovu! Bayede! Bayede! Bayede!” 

King Misuzulu
EFF leadership with the late King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu.

ALSO READ: ‘This will bring stability’: KZN govt on recognition of King-Elect, Prince Misuzulu

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