The Zulu royal family in South Africa has announced the death of its monarch Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu just a month after she became regent. Queen Mantfombi, 65, became interim leader of the country’s largest ethnic group last month after the death of her husband, King Goodwill Zwelithini.
The queen’s prime minister said her death had taken the family by surprise and they were “utterly bereft”. Queen Mantfombi was admitted to hospital a week ago after suffering an unspecified illness, South African media reported. A successor as ruler of the 11 million-strong nation has not yet been named. “It is with the deepest shock and distress that the Royal Family announces the unexpected passing of Her Majesty Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, Regent of the Zulu Nation,” Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the prime minister, said in a statement. Buthelezi said on behalf of the royal family, he wished to assure the nation that while they were rightly grief-stricken, there will be no leadership vacuum in the Zulu nation. “Further announcements on Her Majesty’s funeral and the necessary arrangements will be made in due course. May Her Majesty, our Regent, rest in peace.” The cause of the death of the queen whose children include Prince MisuZulu, prince Lethukuthula (late) and Princess Sibusile, was not immediately announced. She had been appointed to the role on 24 March, after her 72-year-old husband, King Zwethilini, died in hospital from diabetes-related complications.