After years of not knowing where his mother’s remains were buried His Majesty, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, made a request to eThekwini Mayor, Cllr Obed Mlaba, to assist with the location of his late mother, Queen Thomozile Jezangani KaNdwandwe Zulu’s remains. The Mayor took up the initiative and a process was initiated to locate the queen’s remains.
During the 2011 opening of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature, the King made a subsequent request to Government to assist him find the remains of his mother and accord her the dignity she deserves. The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Zweli Mkhize, together with Mayor Mlaba and the Royal Family committed themselves to assisting the King in this regard.
Documents archived by the Municipality revealed that a Thoko Zulu had been buried at the Mayville cemetery on 05/12/1959. The remains that were exhumed from the grave matched those of a woman in her early 30s. However further DNA tests were required in order to obtain conclusive evidence.
The project has taken over two years due to the fact that all necessary legislation had to be complied with, before the process could be undertaken. After all due processes had been followed, a notice of exhumation was placed in the local newspapers. The remains were exhumed on Monday, 11/04/2011 and samples were taken to a laboratory for DNA testing. Positive test results of the DNA were received on Tuesday, 26/04/2011.
Queen Thomozile is to be reburied on Saturday, 07/05/2011 at a memorial site in Cato Manor. This will be followed by an unveiling and memorial ceremony on Sunday, 08/04/2011.
The site had already been earmarked for the development of a fully-fledged interactive cultural museum and heritage centre, linked to associated commercial, retail and other complimentary activities under the Cultural Renaissance Programme of the eThekwini Municipality.
Amongst other elements, the cultural museum and heritage centre aims to acknowledge and celebrate the role that was played by the Zulu Kingdom in the country’s liberation and in achieving peace in the province and the country. These include ending the war between the Zulus and the Indian community in Durban in 1949. The fact that the Queen also lived in Cato Manor during her last days contributes to the historic significance of this location.
For more information contact the Head of Parks, Recreation and Culture Unit, Mr Thembinkosi Ngcobo, on 031 311 4507 or email NgcoboTN@durban.gov.za