The senior wife of the late Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuZulu, will become the next ruler of the Zulu nation, which is currently without a monarch following his recent passing.
According to sources close to the royal family, Queen Mantfombi Ma-Dlamini Zulu will be the interim ruler pending the installation of a new king.
“The royal family decided to install a regent who will rule the nation until the new king is installed.
“The decision is in line with the late king’s wishes that Queen Mantfombi MaDlamini Zulu should take up his position pending the installation of a new king,” the source said.
The royal family endorsed the king’s decision contained in a will presented to the family by his lawyers.
Queen Mantfombi MaDlamini, who is the sister to the king of eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland) Mshwati III, married the Zulu king in 1977.
According to Zulu royal family traditions, Mantfombi MaDlamini Zulu (65) is considered the most senior of the king’s six wives.
The daughter of eSwatini’s King Sobhuza II, Mantfombi MaDlamini Zulu has seven children with the late Zulu monarch.
While it is currently not clear whether the king also spelled out in his will who should succeed him as ruler of the Zulu nation, another source told The Witness that Queen Mantfombi MaDlamini’s eldest son, Prince Misuzulu Zulu, would be ascending the throne.
“The fact that the late king picked Queen Mantfombi MaDlamini tells you that the queen’s eldest son will be the next king.
“If the king wanted someone else to succeed him, he would not have picked Queen Mantfombi MaDlamini as interim ruler.
“As a regent, the queen will have a major say on who becomes the next king and the likelihood is that she will anoint her son, Prince Misuzulu Zulu as the next king,” he said.
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Born in 1974, Prince Misuzulu, who attended Pietermaritzburg’s St Charles College, is currently pursuing a degree in international studies in Jacksonville, Florida.
Zulu nation Prime Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi confirmed that senior members of the royal family met on Saturday to discuss the succession matter, but he would not disclose the outcome of the meeting.
“It was decided that a meeting will be held on Wednesday morning with his majesty’s lawyers,” he said.
Dr Gugu Mazibuko of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), who is an expert on Zulu cultural issues, said it would not come as a surprise if King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu appointed a woman as a regent.
“It won’t be the first time it’s happened. In the 1780s Princess Mkabayi kaJama played a similar role.
“As a regent, the queen will work with senior members of the royal family and decisions will be made collectively,” she said.
Princess Mkabayi, known as the kingmaker, reportedly assumed a regent role after her father, King Jama, died. She is believed to have then used her position to ensure that her younger brother, Senzangakhona, later ascended to the throne. When Senzangakhona was crowned king, Princess Mkabayi is said to have stayed at his side as his adviser.
She would later help Shaka seize the throne from his half-brother, Sigujana, who was said to have been King Senzangakhona’s rightful heir.
When King Shaka was assassinated — allegedly as a result of her plotting — his brother King Dingane kaSenzangakhona was crowned and she also served as his adviser, as she had done for King Shaka and Senzangakhona.