South Africa’s Zulu King’s eldest son named heir

KWADUKUZA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 24: Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini is seen during Heritage Day celebrations on September 24, 2019 in in KwaDukuza, South Africa. While addressing the crowds, King Zwelithini expressed concerns about the scourge of gender-based violence, and appealed to the the government to do more to ensure the safety of women and children in communities. (Photo by Gallo Images/Photo by Khaya Ngwenya/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

The eldest son of South Africa’s late Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini and his recently departed regent queen was Friday named the monarch’s successor amid a turbulent succession battle.

Prince Misuzulu Zulu, 46 — whose name means “strengthening the Zulus” — was named heir in the last will of his deceased mother and queen, Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu.

The will was read out and broadcast live on television on Friday.

The 65-year-old queen and regent died on April 30, weeks after she was named interim successor to her  husband king Goodwill Zwelithini, the longest-serving leader of South Africa’s largest ethnic group.

Zwelithini passed away on March 12 at 72 after half a century on the throne following a battle with a diabetes-related illness.

He left behind six wives and 28 children and a turbulent succession battle followed.

I “hereby nominate and appoint Misuzulu Zulu… as my successor to the throne,” the late queen’s will read out by advocate Griffiths Madonsela said.

The letter that bequeathed the monarchy to her first son was dated 23 March, a day before she was named regent.

Since the death of the late queen, who was Zwelithini’s third wife and the sister of Eswatini’s King Mswati III, various factions in the royal family have sought to put forward their candidates to claim the throne.

Some alleged the regent was poisoned and that her husband’s signature was fraudulently added to his will.

Flanked by singing and dancing Zulu regiments, Prince Zulu on Friday morning made a dramatic entrance at his mother’s official memorial service, demonstrating his willingness to take over as the next monarch of the Zulu nation.

Chaos ensued on Friday after the televised reading of the will when the new successor’s brother, Prince Thokozani, stood up to voice an opinion.

He was quickly shouted down by screeching family members at the royal palace in the coastal KwaZulu Natal province, and the newly named heir was then quickly whisked away by heavily armed security.

Although the title of Zulu king does not bestow executive power, the charismatic Zwelithini had moral influence over more than 11 million Zulus, nearly a fifth of South Africa’s population.