Mbabane: King of the Zulu nation King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu has passed on at the age of 72.
SABC News reported on Thursday morning that King Zwelithini was admitted to the hospital for weeks while receiving treatment for unstable blood glucose levels.
Former Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, has confirmed that AmaZulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, has passed away.
The King was being treated for an ongoing diabetes problem.
According to a statement issued by Buthelezi, King Zwelithini had several unstable blood glucose readings over the past few weeks prompting the decision by doctors to admit him to ICU for treatment.
“Over the past few weeks, several unstable glucose readings have raised concern and His Majesty was required to visit a hospital in Zululand to attend to this,” the former IFP leader, who is also a member of the Zulu royal family, says.
Buthelezi had said the King’s health was being monitored closely, especially due to the risk that diabetes poses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Born on the 14 July 1948 in Nongoma, northern KwaZulu-Natal – King Zwelithini was the eldest son of King Cyprian Bhekuzulu and his second wife Queen Thomo.
Following his father’s passing in 1968, King Zwelithini was appointed to the throne – he was just a 20-year-old student at the time.
But – he was not crowned until 1971 – because he had to go into hiding outside the kingdom following a plot to have him killed.
The long reigning Zulu King died four (4) months after the death of his 50-year son Lethukuthula Zulu who was found dead by security guards at his Northworld, Johannesburg.
King Goodwill Zwelithini’s son died on November 6, 2020, after an evening allegedly fuelled by alcohol, drugs and sex.
King Zwelithini had a close relationship with Eswatini King Mswati III as he has been a frequent visitor to the Kingdom of Eswatini more especially for traditionally occasions or as per Eswatini King Mswati III’s invites.
The two Kings had a very close relationship which was mostly tied by King Zwelithini’s marriage to King Mswati’s sister Mantfombi and one LiSwati maiden Zola Mafu. Queen Mantfombi became Zwelithini’s third wife, while Mafu was the Zulu King’s sixth Queen.
Mafu who is a Swazi commoner, is the sixth and youngest child of Rose Tfobhi Mafu and her late husband, Agrippa Fanyana Mafu. Zwelithini paid lobolo of 20 cattle – nine more than were required. Mafu was selected to be Zwelithini’s bride when she took part in the 2003 Swazi reed dance.
She was 18 at the time and a pupil at the prestigious St Mark’s High School in Mbabane, Eswatini.
She was picked out by Zwelithini’s third wife, Queen Mantfombi, who is the daughter of the late Swazi king Sobhuza II and sister to Swaziland’s absolute monarch, Mswati.