Zulu Queen Mantfombi Dlamini has died at the age of 65, just one month after becoming regent following the death of her husband, King Goodwill Zwelithini.
“It is with the 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,” Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the prime minister, said in a statement. He said he wanted to assure people that there would be “no leadership vacuum in the Zulu Nation.” He also dismissed rumours that the Queen had been poisoned.
Queen Mantfombi had been admitted to hospital a week ago for an unspecified illness, according to South African media. “When she left, she was ill, and rumours were that she was poisoned,” Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi told national broadcaster SABC. He added that she had been ill for some time.
Queen Mantfombi had been appointed to the role of regent on 24 March, after her 72-year-old husband, King Goodwill Zwethilini, died in hospital from diabetes-related complications.
The late Queen was the daughter of King Sobhuza and sister to King Mswati III of Eswatini, which gave her a higher status among King Goodwill Zwelithini’s five wives. As the “great” wife, one of her sons would be the most obvious successor as King.