Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini
Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini's visit to Bulgaria, planned as part of celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Bulgaria, has been cancelled after a serious car crash in which two of the king's associates died and which led to the king being treated in hospital.
Plans had been for the king to attend South African national day celebrations in Bulgaria's capital, Sofia, and officiate at the South African Culture Week from May 7 to 11.
Bulgarian Culture Minister Veshdi Rashidov had agreed to host the Zulu King and announced his visit in March.
The Zulu king's doctors had advised that he should not travel for the next few weeks, South Africa's ambassador in Sofia, Sheila Camerer, said.
"It is hoped that His Majesty will be able to visit Bulgaria later in this 20th anniversary year," Camerer said.
South African deputy minister of defence Thabang Makwetla, who studied in Sofia in the 1980s during his years in exile from apartheid South Africa, will be visiting Bulgaria during the week of South African culture and will be officiating at the opening of the exhibition on South African culture at the State Cultural Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 7, the Archival Exhibition at the State Archives on May 9 and South Africa’s Freedom Day celebrations on May 8.
Makwetla will also be holding talks with his counterparts at Bulgaria's Defence Ministry.