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BBC Pidgin of Saturday, 20 March 2021


Culture and colour at Zulu King burial and how South Africa 'plant' di King

Goodwill Zwelithini, di 72-year-old king of di Zulu nation for South Africa, was laid to rest for one private ceremony in secret and na only some select group of royal men attend di burial in di early hours of Thursday morning.

For im subject, dem no bury King Zwelithni . Dem dey use di Zulu term "ukutshalwa", a loose translation wey mean "planting" - to show say dis no be di end of im influence on di pipo he rule for more than five decades.

One of King Zwelithini palace na di small KwaZulu-Natal town of Nongoma, about 300km (185 miles) from Durban, dey full of activity wit mourners dey go in to pay dia respects.

For those wey revere him, di word death dey inappropriate, instead dem dey call di end of im mortal life ""ukukhothama", meaning "to kneel".

Dis na symbolic way to show di timelessness of di Zulu kingdom. Metaphorically King Zwelithni dey kneel so di next in line fit rise up to di throne.

Dis days of mourning na tribute to a man wey throughout im half-century reign na staunch advocate of preserving Zulu cultural identity.

His leaving dey understood simply as a transition to become an ancestor, join generations of other Zulu kings.

Im be direct descendant of King Cetshwayo, who lead di Zulu nation in di war wit di British army in 1879.

His subjects' believe say dat even as dem dey mourn, dem dey celebrate too.

Many mourners don come bearing gifts in di form of cows - some of which dem go slaughter and share wit di community.

On display na some of di things di Zulu nation dey hold dear - like di leopard skin regalia of di "Amabutho" warriors.

Dem don spend days singing and dancing in celebration.

On Wednesday afternoon, sombre songs fill di air as d king regiment escort di black car, wit blacked-out windows, wey carry di monarch body from one local mortuary to a palace.

We see dem slowly dey waka along di motorcade, dey sing im soul into di heavens.

Alongside di warriors, e get some young women wey dem dey call maidens wear colorful beaded skirts and elaborate necklace.

Dia attire na nod to a tradition wey di monarch reintroduced in 1991, dem call am"Umhlanga" or di "Reed Dance".

Zulu folklore get am say if woman no be virgin, di reed she carry during di ceremony before di king go break, and embarrass her for public.

"E don teach me to look afta myself- not to worry about di presuure of sex or risk of having pikin when I still dey young and e don give me time for my education," 30-year-old Happy Buthelezi tell BBC outside one of di palaces.

"To be a part of Umhlanga over di years don protect me."

On Thursday, dignitaries attend di memorial service, including President Cyril Ramaphosa and members of di royal family.

E never dey clear who go succeed King Zwelithini to lead di 11 million-strong Zulu nation - wey make up about 18% of South Africa population.

Five things about King Goodwill Zwelithini:

Named successor to di throne at just 20 years old in 1968

Dem no crown am until 1971 because he go hide afta receiving death threats

Im role dey ceremonial but still dey very influential

He reign as king of di Zulu nation for five decades

He leave behind six wives and 28 children