Modern huts for king’s new palace

Mayibongwe Maqhina, The Witness

Durban - A glimpse into the proposed plan for the Zulu royal palace in Ulundi shows that it will boast nine thatched “beehive huts” arranged in a circle with a central cattle enclosure.

“These will be constructed with a steel framework, as opposed to the traditional wooden latticework structure, as they will be much bigger than the traditional huts,” according to documents from the environmental consulting firm Brousse-James and Associates.

The documents said the proposed palace “will have tremendous cultural and spiritual significance to the Zulu royal family which, in a sense, will be ‘coming home’”.

King Goodwill Zwelithini wishes to re-establish a royal residence at Emakhosini Valley - where Zulu nation founder King Shaka was born and the ancestral home to his grandfather King Jama.

Apart from the thatched “beehive huts”, the palace will have a prayer unit, two guard houses, two ablution blocks, covered parking bays and garage, guest accommodation facility, fenced grazing site for royal cattle, among others.

One or more small dams may be built on the stream below the palace.

It added that electricity would be initially supplied by solar power with a generator back-up. “At a later stage, an Eskom connection may be considered, but at this stage, the existing Eskom network does not allow for cost-effective connection to the proposed residence.”

Water will come from a borehole and sewage will be processed by a “package plant”.