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Game of African thrones - The Throne

22 February 2022
One of the most highly contested thrones in African history
King Goodwill Zwelithini and Queen

The Zulu monarchy (2021 – Ongoing)

After the longest-serving Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini passed on 12 March 2021 after a 50-year reign, the state of the 11 million-strong nation has been in limbo, pending a succession dispute.

The late king was the father of 28 children and had six wives. Upon his death, Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu was named regent. She was to preside over the throne throughout the three months of mourning and expected to announce the king's successor but died before doing so.

As Queen Mantfombi came from royalty, she became the "Great Wife" and had eight children with the late king. Unlike the king's other wives, her bride price of about 300 cattle was paid for by the Zulu nation, following a collection within communities.

Historians say this cemented her senior status within the royal family.

Her eldest son, 46-year-old Misuzulu, currently sits on the throne as incoming king, but not without controversy or contention as the king’s first wife, Queen Sibongile Dlamini claims that she is the only legal wife as she and His Royal Highness were married in community of property. She currently is in a bid to stop anyone who isn’t from her household from ascending the throne.

Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi who was the late king’s traditional prime minister and adviser, has thrown his weight fully behind the Misuzulu stating that if anyone has a quarrel it is with the king himself.

The dispute continues as the nation and continent wait in anticipation of the result that will most likely leave a lasting impact on one of the most famous African tribes in the world.

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