South Africa’s powerful Zulu nation has lost its interim regent in the person of Queen Mantfombi MaDlamini Zulu, who was one of the six wives of the deceased long-serving king Goodwill Zwelithini.
Queen MaDlamini Zulu was the late king’s third wife and sister to Mswati III, the monarch of neighbouring Eswatini.
She was elevated to leader of the Zulu nation in March, days after the burial of the late king and it was said to be in line with the last wishes of the king.
Zwelithini’s will was read on March 21 in the presence of Prime Minister of the Zulu nation, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi who said the queen’s appointment was in line with King Zwelithini’s wishes.
The powerful Zulu nation was thus waiting for the election of a new king, which announcement was expected soon.
A three-month mourning period is being observed by the Royal Family following which further decisions about the king’s successor is to be taken, Chief Buthelezi added.“The loss of his majesty the king has been a tremendous blow and the family must be allowed to grieve.
“However, the regent and the royal family have asked that I impress on the nation the late king’s wish for the people to take out their [gardening] hoes on Friday [March 26]” he added.
The late king was buried at a nighttime all-men private ceremony.
President Cyril Ramaphosa took active part in the funeral leading to the burial. “The King is not dead. Kings don’t die,” Ramaphosa said in a condolence tweet.
Zulus believe the king does not die and that he had been planted. Zwelithini, an influential traditional ruler, died at the age of 72 having been monarch for five decades.
He was at the time survived by six wives and at least 26 children.