My statement on farming was misconstrued - King Zwelithini

King Zwelithini was quoted as saying that black people reversed the gains won by the apartheid government.

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Zulu Royal House said King Goodwill Zwelithini called on his subjects to return to farming and this was misinterpreted as being a defence for apartheid.

The King addressed a cattle auction in KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend and the royal house said he spoke about farming techniques he was taught by the apartheid government.

The Mercury newspaper quoted King Zwelithini as saying that black people have reversed the gains won by the apartheid government.

The royal house spokesperson, Prince Thulani Zulu said the King's message was a call to learn the trade of farming not an attack on the democratic government.

"If farming was the thing that the people used to live, farming with cattle, that's also needed now. so the King was telling the people to learn from whoever, whether white people or black people who know the skill."

Zulu said the King lived through the apartheid era and because he spoke at a cattle auction, he mentioned how the previous regime trained farmers.

Prince Zulu said the King's subjects should learn how to farm from others.

"He was encouraging people to follow suit, to humble themselves and learn from anybody who knows [how to farm]."

ATTEMPTS TO DESTROY ROYAL HOUSE

The Zulu Royal House said the claims that King Zwelithini has defended apartheid are disrespectful attempts to destroy the nation.

Zulu said they don't want to justify claims that the King believes the current government is undoing good work done by the apartheid regime.

"I actually don't want to associate the King or myself with that because the King was talking in the context of farming and not on any other thing."

He said the reports on the King's comments forms part of attempts to destroy the Royal Zulu House.

"This is disrespectful to the King and it shows that people do not understand what royalty is. I know they are trying whatever they can to destroy the royalty, but we know our King is a symbol of unity."