A traditional homecoming ceremony for former president Jacob Zuma has been postponed because “some criminals hijacked the event”.
Zuma’s nephew‚ Simphiwe Zuma‚ confirmed on Tuesday that the ceremony – to welcome Msholozi back home after he was ousted by the ANC – has been postponed indefinitely after it emerged that some people had been fundraising for the event using his name.
It was scheduled to take place at Zuma’s KwaDakwadunuse homestead in Nkandla on Saturday.
“It has been postponed‚ but to an unknown date because we still have to meet as a family. There were some things that didn’t go well because there were some people who were fundraising for the ceremony using our name and then we realised that there were some criminals who had hijacked the event‚” he said.
He said the ceremony would have included thanking the ancestors for Zuma’s homecoming after serving as head of state for two terms.
“We were going to welcome him back home as a soldier of the nation to say thank you to him because even when we left we had spoken to our ancestors to wish him. So we had to do the same thing when he came back‚” he said. News about the ceremony became public after it was posted on social media on Thursday last week. According to a post on Facebook‚ it was scheduled to start at 10am from the homestead of the chief of the Nxamalala clan‚ Bhekumuzi Zuma‚ with the rest of the festivities taking place at Zuma’s private homestead.
The festivities would have also included traditional dancing by regiments and women clad in traditional attire. Zuma is a staunch traditionalist who excels in the singing of Zulu hyms and traditional dance.
Organisers posted that said that since impepho (incense) had been burned when Zuma was elected as both president of the ANC and of the country‚ it would also be burned again to welcome him home.
Incense is a sacred herb that is used by many traditional communities to connect with their ancestors.
A sangoma was seen burning incense outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court in September 2008 while imploring the ancestors to save Zuma from his fraud and corruption charges which have been since been re-instated after being dropped almost 10 years ago.
Zuma was first recalled by the ANC’s national executive committee‚ before he was forced to resign‚ following the ANC’s parliamentary caucus decision to endorse a motion of no confidence in him.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is also planning to host an event to welcome Zuma back home.
The party said it would be hosting welcome home celebrations for Zuma to thank him for “his 60 years of revolutionary service to the people of the country”.
Despite corruption charges hanging over his head‚ Zuma still enjoys wide support in his home province as his supporters are still aggrieved by his unceremonious departure from the presidency.