King Goodwill not happy with Shaka statue

02 June 2010 - 19:14
By Sapa

The statue of King Shaka Zulu, recently erected at the new King Shaka International Airport, will be removed after the Zulu king expressed concerns about it.

“The sculpture will be removed from the current site and once all the processes have been finalised, it will be erected on another site which is more prominent at the new airport,” said the KwaZulu-Natal premier’s spokesman Ndabezinhle Sibiya.

The statue was situated between the arrivals terminal and the pick-up zone near the entrance at the airport, in La Mercy outside Durban.

The statue’s new location still had to be decided.

King Goodwill Zwelithini and the KwaZulu-Natal government were reportedly unhappy about the work and ordered it to be removed, saying it made Shaka look like a herd boy, rather than the hunter and warrior he was.

Sibiya said the statue had not been completed.

“The government put the statue up knowing it was not completed. We asked the king to put his opinion before the finalisation of the statue. This is an ongoing thing.”

Sibiya said the premier’s office was having further talks with the royal household, historians and academics to ensure the final work reflected different features of history.

“The team has been given one month to finish the process and all suggestions will be considered.

“We welcome debate. We also hope for a lively and responsible exchange of ideas that will enrich our heritage and ensure that our culture is preserved and reflected as accurately as possible for future generations.”

Zulu royal household spokesman Prince Mboniso Zulu said although they were consulted before the statute was erected, the king was “shocked” when he saw it for the first time at its unveiling.

“The Zulu royal house is very big and vast. The king was shocked when he saw the statue.”

Zulu said the king and Mkhize had spoken about the matter and agreed “something should be” done.

The R3 million statue, which depicts Shaka surrounded by Nguni cattle, was unveiled during the airport’s opening ceremony, attended by President Jacob Zuma, in May.

The Mercury reported on Tuesday that Mkhize had meet with the king, who said the statue should be moved. Mkhize said some people had difficulty with the image of an unarmed Shaka.

“We will take down the current statue and get teams to remodel it. Whether it will have a spear and a shield or not, that will be decided at the end of the process,” The Mercury quoted Mkhize as saying.

Airports Company South Africa spokesman Colin Naidoo declined to comment, saying the KwaZulu-Natal premier’s office was handling the matter.

This was not the first time the Zulu royal household had been involved in a controversy over the statue of a Zulu king.

King Dinizulu’s R600,000 statue stood at Durban Botha’s park for two years before being officially unveiled in September 2008. Some eThekwini municipal councillors were reportedly unhappy about it, saying it was shorter than that of the first prime minister of the Union of South Africa, Louis Botha’s, which it faced.