Shaka statue too boy-ish for South Africa's Zulu king

A sculpture of Shaka, founder of the Zulu nation, has been removed from Durban's new airport after the group's current monarch complained the warrior-king looked like a herdboy.

King Shaka "would never look like a young boy looking after cattle. He is the king of the Zulus," Prince Mbonisi, spokesman for King Goodwill Zwelithini told AFP on Thursday.

The bronze sculpture by South African Andries Botha depicted the 19-century ruler surrounded by cattle and without his spear.

"We are also consulting further with the Royal Household, historians, academics and leaders of our society to ensure that the final sculpture reflects different features of our history," said provincial premier Zweli Mkhize.

He also said the three-million-rand (400,000 dollar/300,000 euro) statue, installed along a promenade at the month-old airport, "will be erected on another site which is more prominent at the new airport".

President Jacob Zuma, modern South Africa's first Zulu leader, personally unveiled the statue on May 8 as part of the build-up to the World Cup which will include seven matches in Durban after the event kicks off on June 11.

The current Zulu king is descended from Shaka, but has no political power. Shaka is still revered for uniting a large swathe of the country as the Zulu nation, which waged bloody battles against British colonisers.