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South Africa’s Zulu queen dies at 65

South Africa’s Zulu queen dies at 65

South Africa’s Zulu queen dies at 65

South Africa’s Zulu regent Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini

Zulu has died at 65, officials said, just over a month after she

took the role following the death of her husband,

King Goodwill Zwelithini. “It is with 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,” said a statement issued by Prince Mangosutho Buthelezi,

founder of the Inkatha Freedom Party and traditional prime minister to

the Zulu monarch.

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He did not refer to a cause of death. Some South African media

have reported that she had been ill but have not released details of

her medical condition.

“This has taken us by surprise and left us utterly bereft. 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,” Buthelezi said.

In a statement, President Cyril Ramaphosa extended his “thoughts,

prayers and hearts once more to the royal family”.

The Zulu are South Africa’s largest ethnic group, accounting for around

a fifth of the country’s population, most living in the coastal province of

KwaZulu-Natal. The monarch has no formal government powers but

upholds Zulu tradition and controls millions of hectares of land through

a trust. The queen married Zwelithini in 1977, becoming his third wife.

She is the sister of King Mswati III of eSwatini, ruler of the country

formerly known as Swaziland. King Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu,

who was 72, died in hospital last month after being admitted for

treatment for diabetes. Under his will, his wife was appointed

regent pending the installation of a successor.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala called the news

“heart-wrenching” and said the Queen was a bridge between

the Zulu and eSwatini nations.

He called her leadership role an inspiration for women, which helped to

“administer the final burial rites to the backward, patriarchal and

chauvinistic tendencies that considered women as inferior beings”.

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