The eldest son of South Africa’s late Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini and his recently departed regent queen was on 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 on television on Friday.
The 65-year-old queen and regent died on Friday last week, 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 a half-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 March 23, a day before she was named regent.
Since the death of the late queen, who was Zwelithini’s third wife and the sister of King Mswati III of Eswatini, various factions in the royal family have sought to put forward their candidates to claim the throne.
Some alleged that 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 one-fifth of South Africa’s population.
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