Pamela Shumba Senior Reporter—
THE intended visit to Zimbabwe by South Africa’s Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, has sparked debate, with some saying he was not welcome in the country. King Zwelithini made headlines early this year after he was alleged to have sparked xenophobic attacks in South Africa, after being quoted saying foreigners must pack their bags and leave SA.
He is set to visit the mining town of Gwanda at the end of this month to attend the wedding ceremony of a local businessman and a gospel jamboree to be held in the town.
The Zulu King comes as part of an eventful weekend which will also see about 102 gospel artistes jetting in from the neighbouring country to perform at a show, where entry will be free.
Organisers of the event said King Zwelithini’s entourage had requested that his visit should be kept secret for security reasons.
Zimbabweans took to Facebook after the announcement of his visit on Sunday and expressed mixed feelings.
Some said he should not be allowed in the country while others said they supported his impending visit.
“Zwelithini mustn’t be allowed to visit Zimbabwe because foreigners lost their lives due to the words he uttered. He sparked xenophobic attacks in South Africa. He called foreigners lice, what does he want in Zimbabwe, then?” asked Casper Ngwenya.
Happison Khosa said: “They should burn him alive the moment he sets foot in Zimbabwe ……nxaaa king zwelem###ba (sic)”
Tawedzerwa Mururami concurred with Khosa and said: “Let him come, we will burn him alive.”
Mambo Solo, however, said the King should come and apologise to the people of Zimbabwe to improve relations between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
“He should be reminded of the destruction caused by his utterances. In fact he owes the country an apology. At the same time Zimbabwe and the Zulu King need to have good relations.”
Some felt that it was pointless to attack Zwelithini, saying harassing him would worsen relations between the two countries.
“Those who are ready to attack the Zulu King let them do (so), they will insult their mothers, how can you threaten him while you have millions of Zimbabweans in South Africa? Let’s think before we act,” said Busi Nyathi.
Thabani Mazwi Ndhlovu said: “There is nothing wrong with King Zwelithini visiting Zimbabwe. We have to show him that we are civilised people.”
At least five foreigners died and hundreds were forced to flee their homes in one of South Africa’s worst outbreaks of xenophobic violence in April this year.