Compiled By Markson Omagor
The eldest son of South Africa’s late Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has been chosen as successor to the throne, amid a bitter family feud.
Prince Misizulu, 46, was named in the will of Zulu Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu – his mother – who died unexpectedly last week.
There were dramatic scenes as the will was read out, with some family members openly voicing their disapproval.
Prince Misizulu had to be led away from the meeting by armed security.
The reading took place at the KwaKhangelamankengane Royal Palace on Friday evening, and was televised.
South Africa’s Sunday Times reports that the new leader’s brother, Prince Thokozani, stood up to question the recognition of Prince Misizulu as heir. He was reportedly shouted down by other relatives.
Queen Dlamini-Zulu was buried earlier on Friday in a private ceremony in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province.
She had been appointed regent of the Zulus, South Africa’s largest ethnic group, after the death of her husband the king in March.
The throne does not have formal political power and the monarch’s role within broader South African society is largely ceremonial. But the Zulu monarchy remains hugely influential, and has a yearly taxpayer-funded budget of more than $4.9m (£3.5m).
King Zwelithini, who died from diabetes-related complications at the age of 72, had six wives and at least 26 children. But he picked Queen Dlamini-Zulu as his successor because she was the only wife with royal blood.
The queen’s death, at 65, has triggered a power struggle over the succession.
The royal family has dismissed rumours that she was poisoned as a misunderstanding. The cause of the queen’s death is yet to be announced.
Prince Misizulu is now expected to lead the Zulu nation of about 11 million people.
Meanwhile, two of the late king Goodwill Zwelithini’s daughters have objected to Prince Misuzulu Zulu being named as the new Zulu king.
Proceedings at the KwaKhangelamankengane Royal Palace, where heir to the king Queen Mantfombi Dlamini’s will was read out, quickly descended into chaos on Friday night.
In her will, the late regent of the Zulu kingdom, Dlamini, bequeathed the monarchy to her first son.
However, two of the king’s daughters have disputed the authenticity of the will.
The queen, who was buried on Friday morning had, shortly before her death, been announced as regent, as per Zwelithini’s last will and testament.
Following the the announcement on Friday another royal family member, Prince Thokozani Zulu, stood up and questioned the recognition of Prince Misuzulu as the heir. He argued that the king’s will did not specify who the regent’s successor would be.
WHO IS PRINCE MISUZULU
King Misuzulu Sinqobile kaZwelithini (born 23 September 1974, Hlabisa, KwaZulu) is the Zulu Nation King, the oldest surviving son of King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu and the heir to the throne of the Zulu nation, since ukukhothama (the passing) of his father on 12 March 2021.
He succeeded his father following the memorial service of his mother on the 7th May 2021.
Thorny path to the throne
His mother, Queen Mantfombi Dlamini of Eswatini, was King Goodwill Zwelithini’s Great Wife, which meant that her children would take preference in succession over the children of the late king’s other wives.
Princess Mantfombi was appointed interim leader of the Zulu Kingdom after the king’s death and she held the responsibility to formally appoint the next Zulu king, in terms of the late king’s will. However, the Queen Regent died a month after the King, before appointing a successor.
Official confirmation was given by the Zulu Royal Family of King Misuzulu’s status as the heir to the throne on the afternoon of 7 May 2021 following the reading of Queen Mantfombi Dlamini of Eswatini’s will, with some members of the family calling the debate over successors premature.
At the funeral service, the late king’s sister, Princess Thembi Ndlovu stated that the Royal Family did not yet know who the next king would be and that the individual would be “chosen by God”.
Historically, King Misuzulu’s claim to the throne would have been automatic but the Zulu Kingdom now considers itself a constitutional monarchy, the leader of which must be appointed.
Cultural experts and historians believed that King Misuzulu would ultimately be appointed to ascend to the throne.
On 24 March 2021, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi issued a statement on behalf of the Zulu Royal Family stating that the new king would only be announced after the three-month mourning period for the late king. After the passing of both the King and the interim Queen Regent, there were concerns of a leadership vacuum in the Zulu kingdom.