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5 things you probably didn’t know about King Goodwill Zwelithini

File picture: Bongani Mbatha

File picture: Bongani Mbatha

Published Mar 12, 2021

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Cape Town - Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has been praised for his commitment to advancing Zulu culture and his close working relationship with the South African National Aids Council.

The king, who died on Friday morning at the age of 72, was more than just the leader of the Zulu nation. He was a warrior, a leader and, in many ways, a pioneer.

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Despite having lived most of his life in the public eye since he ascended the throne at 23, there is a lot that the public don’t know about King Zwelithini.

Here are five things about the Zulu king that most people don’t know:

1. King Goodwill Zwelithini’s great-great-grandfather, King Mpande, was a half-brother of the greatest Zulu warrior of all time, King Shaka.

2. King Zwelithini had six wives who bore him an estimated 30 children. The king’s oldest son, Lethukuthula Zulu, died in suspicious circumstances in 2020 at his home in Northwold, Johannesburg. He was 50 years old. The king’s youngest son is Prince Nhlendlayenkosi Zulu, who was born in 2005.

3. The monarch’s net worth is an estimated R284 million ($19m), according to Forbes.

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4. In 2020, the royal household was award a budget of R71.3m despite some opposition parties having decried the R66.7m allocated by the state the previous year as extravagant.

5. On a lighter note, the king had some talent with tickling the ivories.

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