Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo

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Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo
King Bulelani Lobengula (Right).jpg
King Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo (Right)
BornBulelani Collins Lobengula Khumalo
(1986-02-13)February 13, 1986
Eastern Cape, South Africa
ResidenceSouth Africa
Known forBeing the third King of the Mthwakazi Kingdom after succeeding King Lobengula who was overthrown by colonial forces in 1893.
PredecessorKing Lobengula
MovementMthwakazi Kingdom
  • Prince Humphrey Mncedisi Lobengula (father)

King Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo is the third king of the Mthwakazi kingdom. He succeeded King Lobengula who was overthrown by colonial forces during the 1893 First Matabele War. His coronation took place in a private ceremony in Bulawayo on 28 September 2018. In December 2018 he held his first Imbizo in Beria Park, Johannesburg.


Born on 13 February 1986 in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, Khumalo grew up a South African citizen and served in the army. He was identified by the royal Khumalo family and traditional leaders as heir to the King Mzilikazi throne. He is the son of Prince Humphrey Lobengula Khumalo, the son of Prince Patrick Lobengula Khumalo, the son of Prince Rhodes Lobengula Khumalo, the son of Prince Njube Lobengula Khumalo, the son of King Lobengula himself and King Lobengula himself is the son of Mzilikazi kaMashobana.


King Bulelani Lobengula was the first to take up rule in the Mthwakazi Kingdom since 1894. He became the third king in September 2018 after the disappearance of King Lobengula. He currently resides in the royal palace Ntabamhlophe. Despite several attempts to block his coronation by the Mashonaland-led Zimbabwean government, Bulelani Lobengula was crowned in a private ceremony by the Khumalo house.

Coronation ban by the Government of Zimbabwe

When he was due for a supposed coronation in March 2018, the Bulawayo High Court banned the event after self-imposed King, Peter Zwide KaLanga Khumalo successfully won an interdict stopping the ceremony. Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, July Moyo also said it was unconstitutional to have a king in Zimbabwe and there was no law in the country allowing for the setting up of any monarchy.

But in September 2018, traditional leaders in Matabeleland and the Khumalo family crowned Bulelani – new King of the Ndebele nation in a secret ceremony after going through a series of rites held across seven days.

Acceptance by people of Matabeleland

Observing from his public appearances in and out of Bulawayo, it seems people appreciate the cultural role Khumalo represents as he is often received to applause and loud cheers. In Bulawayo, Khumalo made an appearance at the memorial service of the late national hero – Dumiso Dabengwa where he sat next to MDC Alliance president, Nelson Chamisa and his deputy, Professor Welshman Ncube. People cheered for him as he made his grand entrance.

In Ntabazinduna, for Dabengwa's burial, Khumalo was again welcomed with applause while his praise poet introduced him to the public. He also attended a football match at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo where Highlanders Football Club played against ZPC Kariba Football Club and once again received a rapturous welcome.

Seen as a gesture of appreciation to Highlanders supporters, after the match, Khumalo and his delegation moved around the stadium to waves of honour. Highlanders Football Club, formerly Lions Club and later Matabeleland Football Club, was established in 1926 by Ndebele royal sons, Albert Njube Lobengula Khumalo and his younger brother Rhodes Lobengula Khumalo.[1]

Holding his first Imbizo

Bulelani Lobhengula, selected by the Khumalo clan as heir to the Ndebele throne following the “disappearance” of King Lobengula over 100 years ago, pledged to work with the government and defend the people of Matabeleland and Midlands regions like his forefathers.

Addressing his first Imbizo in Johannesburg, South Africa in December 2018, Bulelani Lobhengula Mzilikazi Khumalo said he would also fight for the eradication of hunger in the two provinces.

“We partnered up with a scientist and we designed a biogas system. It creates a gas, that gas plugs into a generator and it gives you electricity. And then in terms of water there are scientists and engineers in the Western Cape who developed a solar-paneled drilling system for boreholes.”

He also pledged his commitment to work with the Government of Zimbabwe but warned those who were opposed to the restoration of the Ndebele monarchy, saying they will not succeed.

“We are not shaken. We are not deterred. We know there are certain elements who want to frustrate us emotionally, financially and otherwise. We are going to continue fighting. If we are speaking about the constitution, my belief is that a constitution is to serve the very people that have created it. Should it not serve the people that it’s supposed to serve then its obsolete, it should be changed according to the will of the people.”[2]


  1. Lulu Brenda Harris, [1], Center For Innovation and Technology (CITE), Published: 5 June, 2019, Accessed: 22 February, 2021
  2. Benedict Nhlapho, [2], VOA Zimbabwe, Published: 12 December, 2018, Accessed: 22 February, 2021