Born well, married even better, sister to the King of Swaziland and recently widowed by the hugely popular ruler of the Zulu, just over a month agoLeaving Mantfombi Dlamini she was queen of the most populous nation in South Africa: she died on April 29 at the age of 65 due to unclear ills, and the continuing quarrels over the will by the rest of the royal family – five other wives, twenty-eight children of which only eight of her own – raise a shadow: been poisoned?
It all started on March 24th. Her 72-year-old husband Goodwill Zwelithini had died in hospital for complications of a diabetes never cured: his fifty years on the throne, the longest reign ever had by the Zulus, ended with the traditional maximum funeral honor ofplanting, i.e. sowing, or kneeling. The king, that is, not buried, but sown; he does not die, so the tradition, but kneels before his successor.
Certainly, few people kneel in front of Mantfombi, his regent designated by his will. Shortly after theplanting there was the reading of the last wishes of the king, facing the royal family alone: that is, two hundred children, brothers-in-law, daughter-in-law and genders, and a dozen lawyers. King Goodwill asked to observe three months of mourning, in which the regent would be Mantfombi; clue that suggested that the Zulu throne would probably be the favorite for the succession, his eldest son Misuzulu, 47 years old.
The Zulu throne is not a real monarchy: it has no political power over the province of KwaZulu Natal – created in 1994 by the merger of the former Boer colony Natal with the Bantustan of Zulu and now the second most populous region in South Africa – but it has a strong moral authority over Zulu’s 11 million who live there, in addition to managing many state subsidies and the vast Ingoyama fund, millions of hectares of land.
At court, then, the beautiful Mantfombi has always had detractors. Starting with King Goodwill’s first wife, Sibongile, who in 1977 was ousted from the role of Great Wife, first wife of the harem, by the younger Mantfombi. Sister of King Swati of eSwatini (Zulu name of Swaziland), she had agreed to marry Goodwill only on condition that she was not second to any other wife. He had this privilege, because he is noble. And when he married his first daughter Bukhosibemvelo to a businessman he got an unprecedented payment: 120 cows, in exchange for the most beautiful of his daughters, proof of the family’s talent for marrying well. Such was her influence that after her King Goodwill interrupted another tradition, that of take a wife a year to strengthen ties with other tribes; over the years the ear ceremony in which the young girls were offered to him (bearing an ear that would have broken if they were no longer virgins, shaming them) was maintained, but no longer resulted in new marriages or sexual ceremonies, in order to discourage promiscuity. of subjects and stop the terrible AIDS epidemic. A Mantfombi victory.
To which for now, 44 years after the wedding and with King Goodwill dead, no one in the family is giving discounts. The king’s brothers, the prime minister said, held numerous forbidden councils to organize the succession. And Sibongile, the former first wife ousted by Mantfombi, asked for the reading of the will already a calligraphic appraisal to invalidate it, claiming that the orders to put the Great Wife Mantfombi on the throne had been falsified. And with a complaint to the High Court of Pietermaritzburg (capital of KwaZulu Natal) he asked to stop the coronation of the regent: the first hearing will be on 7 May, but the regent, that is Mantfombi, is no longer there.
May 4, 2021 (change May 4, 2021 | 22:22)
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