Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, queen of South Africa’s Zulu nation, passed away on April 29 at the age of 65. The Zulu Queen died a month after becoming the ruler of the largest ethnic group in South Africa. Queen Mantfombi took over leadership following the death of King Goodwill Zwelithini (her husband) in March this year. Queen Shiyiwe’s death was a great shock to the royal family and the entire Zulu nation. Announcing her demise, the Zulu nation’s traditional prime minister, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi said,
“It is with deepest shock and distress that the royal family announces the unexpected passing of Her Majesty Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, regent of the Zulu nation.”
BREAKING NEWS: Her Majesty Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu has passed away.
— SABC News (@SABCNews) April 29, 2021
Cause of Zulu Queen Death
Some media reports in South Africa stated that the Zulu queen had been hospitalized a week earlier. Also, rumors had it that she had been poisoned. However, the royal family hasn’t disclosed the cause of death and the premier dismissed the rumor. Prince Mangosuthu desisted from discussing the queen’s health in public. He only mentioned that the Zulu queen had been unwell for quite some time.
Her death took the royal family by surprise. The traditional premier said, “This has taken us by surprise and left us utterly bereft”. Various South African leaders sent condolence messages to the royal family. In his statement, the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, said,
“We extend our thoughts, prayers, and hearts once more to the Royal Family who, in the midst of mourning the passing of the beloved King, are now called upon to bid farewell to the Regent in sadly short succession.”
The Zulu Queen married King Goodwill in 1977 as his third wife. The King, who ruled the Zulu people for five decades, died on March 12 2021 after a long battle with diabetes. He was 72 years at the time of his death.
Zulu Nation Leadership Succession Battle
In his will, King Goodwill appointed Zulu Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi as regent. The queen was supposed to rule as regent until the next monarch is installed. Discussions regarding King Goodwill’s successor were scheduled to begin only after the royal family mourns their departed king for three months. While the current situation in the Zulu nation implies there is a vacuum in leadership, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi said,
“On behalf of the royal family, I wish to assure the nation that while we are all rightly grief-stricken, there will be no leadership vacuum in the Zulu nation.”
BREAKING NEWS: A voice note of Princess Thembi (nee Zulu) calling a meeting of Zulu royals opposed to the late Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu and her son, Prince MisuZulu, taking over from late King Goodwill Zwelithini has been leaked. In the note…
— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) May 2, 2021
Succession Battle goes to Court
Prince Misuzulu Zulu, the eldest surviving son of the Zulu Queen, is the most favorite to succeed his father. However, the royal family is in a deep division. King Goodwill’s first wife, MaDlamini, is planning to challenge his husband’s will in court. According to MaDlamini, she had a civil union with the late King while all the king’s subsequent marriages with the other wives were customary. A statement she presented to the Pietermaritzburg High Court, South Africa, reads in part,
“The first matter relates to the declarator of the late monarch’s civil union vs the subsequent ’customary’ unions, in order to deal with matters of inheritance and succession to the throne.”
This move clearly reveals the succession battle within the Zulu royal family. It also suggests that the Zulu nation might have to wait a little longer before knowing their next king. According to reports, the late Zulu Queen’s burial will be on Thursday 6th May 2021.