New Zulus king crowned despite family divisions over succession

New Zulus king crowned despite family divisions over succession

Misuzulu Sinqobile Zulu, 47, enters the bead (Livestock area) of the Royal Residence at Nongoma, South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. Inside, you will take part in a secret ritual that aims to introduce you to your ancestors – descendants of King Shaka Zulu who terrorized British settlers in the 19th century. After that, he will be accepted by his people as the new king of the Zulus.

The problem is that a week ago, his older brother, Simakade Zulu, surrounded by a small part of the family, took part in the same ritual, hoping to stop today’s coronation after failing in court. There is another part of the family that argues that the successor should be another brother, Prince Buzabazi.

Although Misuzulu means ‘strengthening the Zulus’ and he has been officially recognized as the successor by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, he will not be given an easy role. “I like to call it domestic terrorism. Domestic family terrorism,” he said in a rare interview with the US newspaper. The New York Times about the attacks to which it has been subjected. “The family is deeply divided,” he added.

Despite having no land, the King of the Zulus (through a company of which he is the sole beneficiary) manages an area of ​​almost three million hectares (about the size of the Alentejo), he must manage an annual budget of 3.9 million dollars given by the South African government to the family and has moral influence on about 11 million people (about one fifth of the population of South Africa).

A king with 28 sons

After the death in March 2021 of King Goodwill Zwelithini, divisions arose in the family. He was 72 years old and had been on the throne for half a century. The polygamous monarch, who married six times and had at least 28 children, indicated in his will that his third wife, Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, 68, should be regent until he appoints a successor.

Considered the “great woman” because she was the only one of another royal family – she was the sister of the current king of Eswatini – Mantfombi died 48 days after the king (it was rumored she had been poisoned). His will stated that his eldest son, Misuzulu, would ascend the throne, and he arrived at his funeral in traditional leopard leather clothing, surrounded by Zulu guerrillas reserved for the king — which some disliked.

For part of the family, the heir must be the eldest son of the monarch – born of one of the official marriages. He unsuccessfully challenged his father’s will in court (other relatives questioned the distribution of the fortune), ending last weekend—without the big crowds and celebration expected today—by the coronation ceremony. “God and the ancestors have placed me on this throne and only they can remove me,” he said.

To complicate matters further, three of the late king’s brothers held a press conference on Thursday appointing Buzabazi, the son of Goodwill’s second wife, as his successor. The brothers claim that this prince was close to their father (he was his right-hand man), that Misuzulu was not the late king’s favorite due to “misconduct” and that they should have chosen his successor. “Our brother told us everything,” they revealed.

However, the process was led by the powerful Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who is 93 years old and has been Prime Minister of the Zulus since 1954. Founder of the nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party, he served as Home Secretary to Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. Buthelezi supported Misuzulu, who was accused by the brothers of wanting someone on the throne he could control.

The “misbehavior” the brothers talk about in relation to Misuzulu goes through the reputation of being “playboy” and “drunk”. The future king has five children, but only two from the woman he married in May last year – the day before his mother’s funeral. He has two other children with two (distant) cousins ​​and a third with a housekeeper. Until The New York Times he said he was in a relationship with his wife and that the family offered him the job to help her after she broke up. He also indicated that he only drinks “occasionally”.


Prince Misuzulu Zulu

Son of King Goodwill Zwelithini and his third wife, Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu.
· Born in KwaZulu-Natal on September 23, 1974.
· He is the nephew of King Mswati III of Eswatini, where he lived from 5 to 11 years old.
· Graduated in International Commerce in the USA.
Returned to South Africa after 10 years abroad, having been a businessman until his father’s death on March 12, 2021.
· In May last year he was appointed successor after the death of his mother, then Queen Regent.
· Married that same month. He has five children, only two from his wife.

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Author: Susana Salvador

Source: El heraldo