The regent Zulu monarch, Queen Mantfombi Madlamini Zulu, is reportedly not well and was admitted to hospital on Wednesday.
Her hospitalisation comes while there is looming division in the royal family over who should be her advisor.
Queen Mantfombi, 65, the third wife of the recently deceased Zulu King Goodwill Kabhekuzulu, was elected regent while the royal family was in a three-month mourning period before the next monarch was named.
She was considered for the position among the king’s five wives because she was born from the royal family of Eswatini by King Sobhuza II.
Her first son, Prince Misuzulu is the front runner to the throne,
and was expected to be announced once the mourning period has lapsed.
The issue surrounding the queen’s health was being kept hush-hush and it was unclear how severe her condition was.
A source within the royal palace said the health condition was known to the very few in
the palace due to the “issues” between some senior royals and Prince Mangosuthu
Buthelezi, traditional prime minister to the Zulu monarch.
“What we know is that the queen is not well and was taken to hospital on Wednesday for
It is not clear how serious is her sickness and only a few members of the family know in
which hospital she has been admitted,” said the source.
Prince Thulani Zulu, spokesperson for the royal family, said he had been away from the
palace and was not privy to the queen’s health.
“I am not at the palace right now, I was not aware she was ill. Her health has been a
problem for sometime but I would not know if it has escalated to another level,” he said.
Buthelezi had asked the nation to give the royal family space to mourn, however, things
were seemingly getting out of control within the royal family.
This comes after reports that two senior family members,
Prince Mbonisi and Princess Thembi, who are the late king’s siblings held “unauthorised”
parallel meetings discussing the issue of who can assist the regent.
The powerful throne of the Zulu kingdom comes with lucrative benefits which include the
total control of the Ingonyama Trust, which owns millions of hectares of land and a R71 million budget
for the maintenance of the royal household from the state.
Buthelezi and the royal family had repeatedly pleaded with the nation to stop speculations
regarding the successor or the regent until the mourning period had passed.
Responding to the reports, Buthelezi said the royal family was deeply concerned
by unauthorised meetings, saying he felt that they were mischievous and inception of division within the family and undermined the authority of the queen, who now leads the nation.
“Unfortunately, this parallel process is being run without the authority or sanction of her Majesty Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, whom his majesty the king indicated should lead the nation at this time, or of the other five widows of the king.
“Moreover, the matter of assistance to Her Majesty Queen Mantfombi has already been dealt with in an official meeting of the Zulu royal family which took place at the palace where the queen resides, and which was attended by all senior members of the family, including Prince Mbonisi and Princess Thembi.
“Considering the confusion that has been created by these unauthorised parallel meetings arranged by Prince Mbonisi and Princess Thembi, I requested minutes of such meetings to determine why they are being held.
I have not yet received a copy of the requested minutes,
” said Buthelezi on a statement released last week.
He added that the royal family would request a meeting with the duo as they were unable to attend last week’s family meeting due to medical reasons. However, the family felt that it was important to clarify its position to the Zulu nation, to undo any confusion that has been created.
Buthelezi was unable to comment yesterday about the queen’s health as he was held at the IFP national council meeting most of the day, said his assistant.
Prince Mbonisi said he was not aware of Buthelezi’s statement regarding their meeting.
“I went to see a doctor and I am not aware of any statement issued to the media regarding our meeting.
“He is a father to us and we can not discuss family matters through the media,” said Zulu.
He said he was unaware of the queen’s health condition.