GAME OF THRONES
YOU South Africa|20 May 2021
Goodwill Zwelithini’s son Misuzulu is the new Zulu king – but his position is being challenged by members of his family
LESEGO SEOKWANG

A PRIVATE schoolboy with a flair for rugby. A man with a love of farming. A relatively young ruler who holds the future of the Zulu nation in his hands.

All these are ways to describe King Misuzulu Sinqobile kaZwelithini – the newly appointed leader of the largest ethnic group in South Africa, who’ll preside over 11 million people and some of the most fertile agricultural land in the country.

Misuzulu (46) was recently named successor to his father, the late Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu – but his appointment was chaotic and intriguing enough to make anything offered up in Game of Thrones look tame. Add to this a cast of characters so large and complicated even Shakespeare would have a hard time unravelling it all.

Here, in a nutshell, is what’s been going on. Pandemonium recently broke out at the Kwakhangelamankengane Royal Palace in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), when it was announced Prince Misuzulu Zulu had been named Zwelithini’s successor in Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu’s will.

Although Mantfombi – who died in mysterious circumstances in April aged 65 – was Zwelithini’s third spouse, she was also known as the “great wife” because she was the only one of the late king’s six wives with royal blood.

Mantfombi was the daughter of the late eSwatini king Sobhuza II and in her will she stated that, as a result of her status, it was in her power to decide who the new king would be. Misuzulu is her and Zwelithini’s firstborn son.

But a faction within the family is vehemently opposed to the appointment. The spokesperson for this group, Prince Thokozani Zulu, says Mantfombi didn’t have the right to name a successor – only Zwelithini did. And the late king failed to appoint one in his will.

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