King Zwelithini KeBhekuzulu was the eighth monarch of the Zulu nation. He was named King at age 20, after his father’s death, King Cyprian Bhekuzulu. In 1971, he was officially crowned King of the Zulu nation at 23. King Zwelithini died on the 12th of March 2021 at 72. He was King for 50 years, making him the longest-ruling monarch in the Zulu nation. King Zwelithini was part of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) but later broke away from the party, which led to public unrest in the Zulu nation. He entered an agreement with the African Nations Congress (ANC) after the country transitioned into a democracy. The government allocates the royal house’s budget, and the Kwa-Zulu Natal provincial authorities control it. King Zwelithini was the chairman of the Ingonyama Trust, which aimed to administer land belonging to the Zulu nation.
King Zwelithini was married to six wives, Queen Sibongile Dlamini, Queen Buhle MaMathe, Queen Mantombi Dlamini, Queen Thandekile Ndlovu, Queen Nomphumelelo Mchiza and Queen Zola Mafu. He had 28 children with his wives and was succeeded by his son with his third wife, Queen Mantfombi Dlamini, the great wife, King Misuzulu.
Meet wives of King Zwelithini Bekhuzulu.
Queen Sibongile Dlamini-Zulu
Queen Sibongile Dlamini of the KwaKhethomthandayo palace is the first wife of King Zwelithini. The couple married on December 1969 at the Nongoma Anglican Church. The couple had five children together – a son, Prince Lethukuthula, who died in 2020, and four daughters, Princess Nombuso, Princess Ntombizosuthu, Princess Ntandoyenkosi KaZwelithini Ngcaweni and Princess Sinethemba.
After the death of King Zwelithini, she lodged a court case to bid to get 50% of the late King’s estate. In her applications, she wrote that she wanted 50% of the estate and the rest of the queens and children would share the other 50%. She also stated that she was not looking to evict the other queens; she just wanted what was due to her. The case was dismissed because Queen Sibongile Dlamini did not clearly outline her true intentions to render the other five marriages invalid and void.
The Queen and her daughters later launched a request to appeal, which was successful. They also applied to contest the will, which was allegedly fake. The royal family has been divided since the death of King Zwelithini, with most of the royal members gunning for the throne. Queen Sibongile Dlamini was one of those against Queen Mantfombi Dlamini ascending the throne as the queen regent. Queen Mantfombi Dlamini was named the queen regent by the late King Zwelithini in a will. Misuzulu was later crowned King, and Queen Sibongile Dlamini was absent from the coronation. However, it looks as if she had a changed heart since she attended the annual reed dance hosted at eNyokeni palace.
Queen Buhle MaMathe-Zulu
Queen Buhle MaMathe was born in 1974. She currently lives in KwaDlamahlahla Royal Family in Nongoma. She has eight children with the late King Zwelithini but lost two children, Prince Butho and Princess Nonhlanhla. The Queen and her daughter Princess Sibusile were attacked in 1996. The attack was fatal; Princess was shot in the leg and suffered head injuries. The Queen also sustained a head injury and had to get surgery. Princess Nonhlanhla disappeared during the attacked and was later found dead. It was alleged that the separation between King Zwelithini and the IFP caused the attack. The Queen’s son, Prince Buzabazi, was one of the people who was involved in the battle for the throne.
Queen Mantfombi Shiyiwe Dlamini -Zulu
Queen Mantfombi Dlamini was born in February 1953 in Eswatini. She is the daughter of Eswatini King Sobhuza II and was betrothed to King Zwelithini in 1973. She became the queen consort of the Zulu nation and became known as the Great Wife. The title Great Wife is a term used for a woman of royal blood who marries into royalty. Due to this, the Queen’s male children would be highly eligible for the Zulu throne. The couple married in 1977 and had eight children. Their oldest son, Misuzulu, is now the King of the Zulu nation.
After the death of King Zwelithini, the Queen was chosen to be the queen regent per the King’s will. The Queen passed away on the 29th of April 2021 after being hospitalized.
Queen Thandekile Jane Ndlovu-Zulu
Queen Thandekile Ndlovu of the Linduzulu Royal House married King Zwelithini Bhekuzulu in 1983. They had three children together. She adopted and raised Prince Sihlangu, the son King Zwelithini had out of wedlock. The Queen is well-educated and once worked for the Provincial Department of Health in Kwa-Zulu Natal. She is the sister of Thembeka Ndlovu, the Chief executive of the Ingoyama Trust Board.
Queen Nomphumelelo Mchiza-Zulu
Queen Nomphumelelo Mchiza was only 19 when she married King Zwelithini in 1992. Although she grew up in Kwa-Zulu Natal, she is from the Xhosa tribe, which sparked a lot of controversy. She has three children with the late King. Princess Cebo, Princess Nqobangothando and Prince Nhlanganiso. The Queen supported Prince Simakade’s ascension to the throne and even boycotted royal events, including the coronation of King Misuzulu. The Queen later changed heart and attended the 9th royal Sabbath and Umgidi ceremony of the Shembe Church.
Queen Zola Zelusiwe Mafu-Zulu
Queen Zola Mafu was betrothed to King Zwelithini at age 17. The couple met at a reed dance ceremony in Swaziland in 2003, where the King spotted her. Their wedding occurred in 2014, and they had a son, Prince Nhlendlayenkosi. The Queen lives in the Ondini Royal House in Ulindi. Although she was not involved in the battle for the throne, she was the only Queen to show up and support King Misuzulu at his coronation. King Misuzulu was grateful for her attendance and gave her heartfelt thanks.
Here are the six wives of the late King Zwelithini. What do you think?