Thousands of people in Malawi’s northern district of Mzimba mourned Inkosi ya Makosi M’mbelwa IV when his body was returned home at his Edingeni headquarters after he died in Blantyre on Tuesday.
Several women clad in black mourning dress, broke into uncontrollable wailing during the viewing of the body ‘squatting-in-state’ on Friday in a casket draped in Malawi’s national colours of black, red, and green.
Thousands of people led by Malawi Vice President Khumbo Kachali turned up to pay their respects to the departed warrior who has been on the throne since 1984.
Other notable mourners included Chewa Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi from Zambia who brought Gule wa Mkulu to the funeral and also from Ntcheu, Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani.
M’belwa who died at Mwaiwathu private hospital in Blantyre will be buried on Saturday with full military honours being a state funeral mixed with the traditional Ngoni rites.
Senior Chief Inkosi Mpherembe said the Ngoni rites include putting the body in a sitting position, wrapping it with nguwo (cow hide) and placing a cattle gallbladder on the body to symbolise the power of the deceased chief.
After the lowering of the body into the grave, the first born son of late M’mbelwa IV will stand on the side of his father’s grave and carry the arrow his father was using as a symbol of his ascendancy to power.
Meanwhile, State House announced that President Joyce Banda will attend the burial of M’mbelwa.
Among the dignitaries who will attend the burial ceremony are Maseko Ngoni, Paramount Chief Inkosi ya Makhosi Gomani, Paramount Chiefs Lundu, Chikulamayembe and Kyungu, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini of South Africa, Inkosi Ya Makhosi Mpezeni of Zambia and a representative of King Mswati of Swaziland.