Born on the 27 July 1948 at Nongoma, His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu is the reigning king of the Zulu nation under the Traditional Leadership clause of South Africa’s republican constitution.
He became king on the death of his father, His late Majesty King Cyprian Bhekuzulu kaSolomon in 1968. HRH Prince Israel Mcwayizeni KaSolomon acted as the regent 1968-1971 while the King took refuge in St. Helena for three years to avoid assassination. After his 21st birthday and his marriage, Zwelithini was installed as the eighth monarch of the Zulus at a traditional ceremony at Nongoma on 3 December 1971, attended by 20,000 people
As the custodian of Zulu traditions and customs, His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu has revived cultural functions such as the umhlanga, the colourful and symbolic reed dance ceremony which, amongst other things, promotes moral awareness and AIDS education among Zulu women, and the Ukweshwama the first fruits ceremony, which is a traditional function involving certain traditional rituals.
He has also traveled abroad extensively to promote tourism and trade for KwaZulu-Natal, and to fundraise for Zulu-supported charities.