’Shock and distress’ as Regent of the Zulu Nation Queen Mantfombi dies aged 65

Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu, 65, has died. | Bongiwe Mchunu African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu, 65, has died. | Bongiwe Mchunu African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published May 2, 2021


ALMOST two months after the passing away of her husband, King Goodwill Zwelithini, Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu, 65, who had been holding the fort until a successor was identified, has died.

The cause of the death of the queen, whose children include Prince MisuZulu, Princess Sibusile and the late Prince Lethukuthula, was not immediately announced.

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the traditional prime minister to the Zulu Nation and king, said the queen’s death had taken everyone in the royal court by surprise.

“It is with the 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. This has taken us by surprise and left us utterly bereft. It is true that the Lord alone knows the days that He has allotted to each one of us.

“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. Further announcements on Her Majesty’s funeral and the necessary arrangements will be made in due course. May Her Majesty, our Regent, rest in peace,” Buthelezi said.

Being of royal blood since she was the daughter of the late King Sobhuza of Eswatini and sister to King Mswati III, it was widely expected that one of her sons would take over the throne.

After the passing of King Goodwill Zwelithini at the age of 72 on March 12 and his burial a week later, a will identified her as the designated one to act on the throne until a successor is found. The successor was widely expected to be named towards the end of June when the three-month mourning of the royal house ends.

Dlamini-Zulu spent most of her time at Kwakhethomthandayo palace in Nongoma, northern KZN and it is expected that most of the grieving and funeral arrangements will take place in the coming days.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended “sincerest condolences” to the Royal Family and Zulu Nation at large.

Ramaphosa said: “Personally, and on behalf of government and all South Africans, I offer my sincerest condolences to the Royal Family and the Zulu nation”.

“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.

“We stand by the Royal Family and the nation in this hour of compounded grief.”

In its statement of condolences after the news, the national spokesperson of the IFP, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, said this was a great loss as the queen had spent most of her time on the side of the King Zwelithini.

“On behalf of the IFP, I extend to the Royal Family our deepest condolences. His Majesty’s widows, the queens, will be in our prayers, as will the Queen Mother and all members of the Royal Family. We pray that they will be strengthened in spirit and comforted by the Lord.

“The IFP expresses its condolences and profound gratitude to the traditional prime minister to the Zulu monarch and nation, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP, for carrying the heavy burden of informing the nation and supporting the Royal Family. We recognise that this is his loss as well, not only as family, but as someone who provided assistance to Her Majesty, the Regent, in a very difficult time,” Hlengwa said.

He added that it was reassuring to hear from Buthelezi and the royal family that there would be no vacuum after the passing away of the queen.

“We are grateful for his assurances that there will be no leadership vacuum in the Zulu Nation. While our hearts are broken, we are without fear for the future. We pray for the Zulu Nation, believing that God’s will remains unassailable.”

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Political Bureau