The Zulu kingdom’s Game of Thrones

The news has been abuzz with drama over the new Zulu monarch. In case you missed it, the death of the long-reigning King Goodwill Zwelithini in March this year created a power vacuum. It set the stage for developments that wouldn’t be out of place on a season of Game of Thrones. Queen Mantfombi MaDlamini, his 3rd and only wife of royal blood, got the coveted spot to take his place as regent – only to also die seven weeks later. 

Rumours of poisoning added to the drama. Then, on Friday, her will was read out on live TV, naming her eldest son as the next king. Cue even MORE drama, with court battles over his legitimacy as king, other royal men objecting to the reading of the Queen’s will and gun-wielding security guards whisking him away to safety, while Zulu warriors pledged to defend their new monarch. 

What’s with all the interest? Well, it doesn’t hurt that the new king, Misuzulu kaZwelithini, has a growing fan club for his dishy looks. But why you should REALLY care is because he now becomes the sole trustee to the controversial Ingonyama Trust. As we’ve told you before, it was set up on the eve of the 1994 elections to help secure the previous King and the IFP’s political participation – the party had threatened to boycott the process. The Trust administers nearly a third of KZN’s land and is accused of being unconstitutional and treating millions of rural people, particularly women, unfairly. Two government panels have recommended that it be dissolved. 

Over to you, King Misuzulu. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 April 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates