Zulu King waits for thrones as Indian-origin furniture carver halts order

Johannesburg: An Indian-origin furniture carver in South Africa has halted an order for two thrones for Zulu King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini made from the rare tamboti wood due to non-payment of dues by the royal family.

Misuzulu, 48, was officially recognised as the Zulu King by the South African government last week in the first Zulu coronation since 1971.

As the new Zulu King was formally enthroned as the head of South Africa’s most influential traditional monarchy, rare wood furniture carver Rajiv Singh has said that he has halted an order for two thrones for the King made from the rare tamboti wood that his family has specialized in for decades.

Singh said he did this because of a debt for R100,000 (approx INR 453,710) worth of tamboti furniture that had been delivered to the King’s late father Goodwill Zwelithini seven years ago but remained unpaid despite repeated promises.

“I haven’t designed anything (for the new order). I am so frustrated that we are still owed money and they approached us again. I did alert the representative (who placed the order) about the money owed. She said she would find out what has happened to the payment,” Singh told the weekly Sunday Times.

Singh added that he had not heard from the person since then. “The request came from the same office. How sure can we be that if we do this order, we will get paid? They chose not to pay us. You can be royalty, but if you buy something, you have to pay for it,” Singh said.

The Zulu Royal spokesman did not respond to queries by the weekly. Singh’s items are made from tamboti hardwood from trees that can be up to 1,200 years old. Tamboti emits a fragrant, spicy smell when worked, and the smell can actually persist for years.

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy: Twitter@sbo_fokol)

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