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9th Royal Sabbath and Umgidi ceremony to take place at Enyokeni Royal Palace

The historic ceremony was established following a reconciliation process between the Zulu monarch and the Nazareth church.

FILE: Close to 50,000 followers of the Nazareth Baptist Church, also known as the Shembe Church, leave their church in Ebuhleni, 45km, north of Durban for their pilgrimage. Picture: AFP

DURBAN – Thousands of members of the Nazareth Baptist church will gather at the Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma, Northern KwaZulu-Natal for the ninth Umgidi ceremony.

The historic ceremony was established following a reconciliation process between the Zulu monarch and the church.

The Nazareth church is one of the biggest in the country – with millions of supporters.

On Saturday, the supporters are expected to gather at the palace for what will be a Sabbath prayer service.

This will be followed by umgidi – a traditional dance ceremony on Sunday.

Recently-crowned Zulu King Misuzulu is expected to attend, alongside the leader of the church – Mduduzi Shembe.

READ: The sun has risen for the Zulu nation as the newly-crowned king is now certified

Back in 2010, the relationship between the Shembe church and the Zulu monarchy soured after the church’s priests denied then Zulu King Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu from seeing then church leader – Vimbeni Shembe.

But, in 2013 the current church leader – Mduduzi Shembe mended fences with King Zwelithini, and this ceremony was established as a result.

Since then, the bond between the church which has a large number of Zulu followers, and the monarchy’s relationship remained ever strong.

However, this time around – the ceremony comes as the royal family mourns the passing of a senior prince – who was shot and killed on Thursday.

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