The AmaZulu facing a royal predicament

Johannesburg – The death of AmaZulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBheku- Zulu has thrown the AmaZulu Kingdom into a quandary over who is going to succeed one of Africa’s longest-serving monarchs.

The King left behind six wives and it is expected that his successor will be selected from his 28 children.

Although the AmaZulu royal house has refused to entertain the succession question, Sunday World understands that the sudden passing of Prince Khethukuthula Zulu has put the kingship in a predicament.

Prince Khethukuthula was found dead at his Joburg apartment on November 6 last year.

The first son born to Isilo’s first wife, Queen Sibongile Dlamini, Prince Khethukuthula was believed that he was being groomed to take over the throne after his father.

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Prince Mbonisi Zulu, the brother of the late AmaZulu king, told Sunday World that King Zwelithini’s sudden passing had overwhelmed the family.

“I think you’ll appreciate that the process of the appointment of the next king is a sensitive and a sacred subject,” he said.

“Even when the late Isilo Cyprian kaSolomon departed in 1968, nobody knew that King Zwelithini would succeed him. But I can assure you that the royal family will make the announcement on who will lead the AmaZulu nation.”

Sunday World has also learnt that the name of Prince Misu- Zulu, the eldest surviving son, is one of the names being touted as the next king.

He is the eldest son of Queen Mantfombi Dlamini, the daughter of the late revered amaSwati King Sobhuza II and Zwelithini’s third wife. She is also a sister to current Swati absolute monarch King Mswati III.

According to a close relative of the royal family, what makes Prince MisuZulu a strong contender to the throne is that his mother is the daughter of one of the strongest and respected kingdoms in Africa.

“Queen Mantfombi is considered as the great wife and Prince MisuZulu is the eldest surviving son. Although the succession is something that is canvassed by the royal family elders, involving all the royal palaces and extended family members, the odds are pointing at him,” said the insider.

NQUTHU, SOUTH AFRICA – JANUARY 22: Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini during the re-enacment of the Battle of Isandlwana on January 22, 2016 in Nquthu, South Africa. The Zulus won the battle in 1879, conquering a well-armed British Empire force. (Photo by Gallo Images / City Press / Tebogo Letsie)

African culture and heritage expert Ndela Ntshangase said according to African belief systems, the fallen king does not appoint his successor.

“The kingship succession is premised on an understanding that the throne does not belong to an individual or reigning king, instead it belongs to a royal family. Members of the royal blood determine who becomes the next king or queen after considering many aspects,” explained Ntshangase.

The next AmaZulu king will ascend the throne during the tough times facing the Ama- Zulu kingdom, especially the land question and the imminent threat to the Ingonyama Trust, an entity safeguarding the tribal land under the former KwaZulu government.

The long-serving monarch passed on at Durban’s Chief Albert Luthuli Hospital a week ago, aged 72, where he was being treated for diabetes, but later succumbed to Covid-19-related complications.

The king was laid to rest in the early hours of Thursday at a ceremony known as ukutshalwa kwenkosi (planting of a king), derived from an African belief that a king does not die but transitions into a spiritual realm.

The late Zulu king’s queens and their children – where the next Zulu king is likely to come from are:

1st Wife – Queen Sibongile Dlamini of the Kwakhethomthandayo Royal Palace Prince Lethukuthula, murdered last year at his Johannesburg complex.  Princess Ntombizosuthu Princess Sinethemba Princess Nombuso Princess Ntandoyenkosi

2nd Wife – Queen Nobuhle Mathe of the Kwadlamahlahla Royal Palace Princess Sibusile Princess Nandi Prince Nhlanganiso Prince PhumuzuZulu Prince Butho (deceased) Prince Buzabazi Prince Sihlobosenkosi

3rd Wife – Queen Mantfombi Dlamini of the Kwakhangelamankengane Royal Palace Prince MisuZulu Princess Nomkhosi Prince Mandlesizwe Prince Bizwekhaya Prince Masikomahle Prince Lungelo Princess Bukhosibemvelo

4th Wife – Queen Thandekile Ndlovu of the KwaLinduzulu Royal Palace Prince Sihlangu Prince Mukelile

5th Wife – Queen Nompumelelo Mchiza of the eNyokeni Royal Palace Princess Nqobangothando Prince Nhlangano Princess Cebolabo 6th Wife – Queen Zola Mafu of the oSuthu Royal Palace Prince Nhlendlayenkosi

It was announced on Sunday that Queen Mantfombi MaDlamini Zulu will take over as the interim ruler of the Zulu nation pending the installation of a new king to succeed the late Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini KabhekuZulu.

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