ZULU King Goodwill Zwelithini has been described as a king who had respect for everyone.

King Zwelithini died on Friday morning at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban after being hospitalised for about a month.

His younger brother Prince Mbonisi Zulu told Daily Sun the king was like a father to them after their father King Cyprian Bhekuzulu died.

“My father passed away when I was only eight years old but when he took the throne he become a father to us. He was a born king. He respected men and women.

“The biggest tree has fallen. I asked people to keep praying for us because this is a hard time for the royal family to even think positively because the king had been hospitalised more than a month,” he said.

Prince Thiza Zulu told Daily Sun that he grew up with the king at KwaDlamahlahla Royal Palace and the king was a year older than him.

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Some of princes with praise singer and royal chaplain coming inside the palace. Photo by Jabulani Langa

“At a young age he had great respect and gave people food but he was harsh when someone attacked him. He always offered me food when we were growing up together.

“He had respect to everyone regardless of their age. Even if he wanted you to do something for him, he would not force you because he is the king. He always asked nicely.”

Prince Thiza said the king loved farming and he always encouraged his nation to farm and produce their own food.

King Zwelithini’s cousin from his mother’s side, Mkhaleleni Ndwandwe, told Daily Sun: “He always brought groceries to us saying he don’t want us as his mother’s home to starve. He respected us while he respected the whole nation,” he said.

On Friday, princes from different Zulu royal households gathered outside the palace to comfort each other.

Dignitaries and mourners are expected to arrive on Saturday and Sunday to mourn with the Royal House.