Funerals from around the world – Swaziland

Charles Cowling

 

Whoops! Should have posted this yesterday.

 

NGUDZENI – The funeral of King  Maja II, leader of the Mamba clan was unique in more ways than one.

He was buried in the morning yesterday inside a cattle byre.

Secondly, his body was carried in a specially designed casket worth E25 000, bought from Dups Funeral Home Services.

King Maja II, whose birth name was Mntonsundu Mamba, was buried at Ngudzeni Royal Kraal yesterday morning. He was 67.

The funeral was attended by over 1 000 people who included close members of the Mamba clan together with residents of Ngudzeni and surrounding areas.

Before the funeral, the late king’s body was kept in a house that had been built specially for the funeral.

The funeral started with a service that began on Friday night and lasted until 4am yesterday. After the service, which saw more singing than speeches, elders of the Mamba clan began preparing to take the body to its final resting place.

Only men were allowed to come close to the house, especially when it was time for the body to be taken to the cattle byre for burial.

The men were given an instruction to first remove the windbreakers made of reed, which had been erected in front of the house. Close family members were then allowed into the new house to take the casket out.

Those who were present marvelled at the casket that had been made specifically for the king.

Women sat down as the casket was taken to the cattle brye.

From the house, the body was taken straight to the cattle byre situated about 300 meters away from where the body was housed.

Along the way, traditional songs (umgubho) were sung as the casket went past the people who had attended the funeral. The songs were sung until the casket was taken into the cattle byre. Making in into the cattle byre were mostly men.

Only a few women were allowed to enter and these were those close to the family.

After King Maja’s casket was lowered, warriors (libutfo) sang traditional songs for about an hour before the grave was covered with sand.

They sang different songs which include a song titled ‘Inkhosi Maja,’ which was sung twice. When one of the warriors started the song, almost everyone who was inside the cattle byre joined in.

Women who were standing outside also sang along. As the funeral proceeded, most of those who attended were heard talking about the unique casket.

Some of them wondered why the casket had been made pentagonal while others speculated about the price.

Addressing the mourners after the funeral, Mphosi Mamba, King Maja’s brother, thanked those who attended the funeral saying everything went according to plan.

Mambas also sent condolences to the people of Ngudzeni and Sithobelweni for losing their leader.

King Maja II was responsible for both the Ngudzeni and Sithobelweni Royal Kraal. The Sithobelweni Royal Kraal is situated in the Lubombo region while Ngudzeni is in the Shiselweni region.

The deceased was the son of Princess Phetfwayini – the daughter of King Sobhuza II.

While still serving as a member of the King’s advisory body, he was involved in a near fatal car accidentwhich resulted in him receiving treatment at Imphilo Clinic (now Manzini Clinic).

Some of those who attended the funeral included Minister Patrick Magobetane Mamba, Ndumiso Mamba former Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and his brother Clifford, who is Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

The funeral lasted until 9am as the warriors spent time preparing King Maja’s grave.

Also of note was that the media at the funeral was warned not to take any pictures of the casket being lowered into the grave.

Journalists were also warned not to take pictures of the warriors who were busy covering the grave with sand.

Source

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