The crowd at the anti-xenophobia imbizo in Durban on Monday spearheaded by King Goodwill Zwelithini, booed anyone who tried to address the crowd who was not Zulu.
As Hindu priest, Ashwin Trikamjee recited a prayer the crowd started booing him.
They wanted Trikamjee to get off the stage and clapped when he finally stepped down.
MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu urged the crowd to calm down.
“Please, people, these are just prayers. Please behave yourselves,” said the MEC.
The crowds continued to boo priests who were not Zulu.
As a Muslim cleric took the stage the crowds continued to jeer despite the fact that he spoke Zulu.
“As a Muslim, the King is the father of all nations,” he said to the crowd.
Nearly 5 000 Zulu Amabutho (regiments) have descended on the Moses Mabhida ahead of Zwelithini’s address.
With traditional weapons held aloft, the group moved around the stadium singing in Zulu.
The songs have a loaded message of aggression, and the undertone is one that supports a call for foreigners to leave the country.
High profile politicians present
This flies in the face of the stance taken by the state in addressing the spate of violent attacks which have seen thousands of ethnic Africans displaced and seven people killed.
Mabuyakhulu welcomed everyone present, Amakhosi’s, councillors, Izinduna, MECs, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, State Security Minister David Mahlobo and all religious leaders.
The crowd at the stadium booed all the international guests Mabuyakhulu introduced.
“We need to behave in front of the king and show respect,” he told the crowd.
“We need to listen carefully as our leaders speak today. We also wish for everyone to say something, they should be given respect. If we do that we would have respected the king,” urged Mabuyakhulu.
More than 10 000 people including Amakhosi, Izinduna, and Amabutho are expected to listen to Zwelithini as he addresses matters relating to the recent xenophobic attacks in the province.
Earlier, Amabutho were singing: “Elethu izwe, owani umbango [What’s the rivalry for]?”
When a News24 reporter asked one of the singers what the song meant he said “this is our nation, why do we have to share it with other nations”.
News24 understands that over 300 Amakhosis have been locked in a private meeting with the King since earlier on Monday morning.
He was expected to address the crowd after midday. News24