MANTFOMBI, ZOLA’S KIDS FOR ZULU KINGSHIP
MBABANE – Sons of Swazi born Zulu Queens are being touted as potential candidates to succeed King Goodwill Zwelithini (65) of the Kingdom of Zululand, South Africa when he passes on or steps down.
Prince Misizulu (39), son to Princess Mantfombi (57), the daughter of King Sobhuza II of Swaziland and Prince Hlendla whose mother is Queen Zola Zelusiwe Mafu, also a Swazi, are understandably topping the list of heirs.
It is said that one of them could be the next king of the Zulu - a kingdom that is very close to the Kingdom of Swaziland.
However, the sons of Swazi Queens face opposition within royalty as others have suggested that Prince Lethuk’thula, whose mother is Queen Sibongile from the commoner Dlamini family in KwaZulu-Natal, be the successor.
Throwing further uncertainty into the succession debate raging on in the Kingdom of the Zulu is the claim that, when each of the princes were born, King Goodwill Zwelithini is said to have declared: “A Zulu king has been born.”
The king’s failure in the three decades to let his subjects know who should take over if he dies or steps down has split the royal household of six wives into cliques supporting each of the three probable heirs.
The Times SUNDAY can also reveal that Queen Zola, after living with Princess Mantfombi for a long time at KwaPhangela Palace, now requests King Zwelithini to build her a E6 million palace at the taxpayers’ expense. She is a former pupil of St Mark’s High School.
The Zulu royalty’s request for a supplementary budget for the construction of Queen Zola’s palace has met strong objection in the KwaZulu Legislature.
The Kingdom of the Zululand’s E63 million annual budget is the largest of all South Africa’s royal houses. It has over 10 million people.
Born in 1974, Prince Misizulu, educated in the USA, courtesy of a partly Swazi royal scholarship over a decade ago, is believed to be a strong candidate because his mother is also of royal blood.
Traditionally, it is said that a Zulu king must have royal blood on both the mother and the father’s side, putting Prince Misizulu at an advantage. It is also said that Princess Mantfombi deserves to produce the king and become the Queen Mother because she has revived the Zulu Kingdom in terms of honouring culture as she reintroduced the reed dance ceremony.
A source close to Zulu royalty said Queen Zola Mafu could also produce the king because she was introduced to King Goodwill Zwelithini by Princess Mantfombi as an heir of her household.
Just in case Prince Misizulu does not qualify to be the king, Queen Zola’s son, Prince Nhlendla, (eight months old) can take over and reign.
Professor Otty Nxumalo, the king’s former speech writer, told City Press that, in times past, succession decisions depended on whether the next king’s mother was of royal descent, or whether he was chosen based on seniority.
At other times, the professor said, the kingship was taken by force in palace coups.
Meanwhile, Prince Thulani Zulu, the king’s brother, said: “It’s not something you pre-empt. Each king chooses to do things his own way.”
Prince Mbonisi Zulu, the other king’s brother and royal spokesperson, would not discuss the matter, saying protocol was very important in the Zulu royal household and issues relating to ‘uMntomkhulu’ (his highness) could not be spoken of lightly.
The heir has to be male, though.
In a brief interview with the Times SUNDAY, the king’s brother reiterated the statement he made when he was interviewed by City Press that the issue would not be discussed in public.