Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, Princess of eSwatini, Queen of the Zulu (born 1956) was a Swazi-South African traditional aristocrat. As the Great Wife to the late King Goodwill Zwelithini, she served as the queen consort of the Zulu Kingdom.
Queen Mantfombi Dlamini died on 29 April 2021. Her death was confirmed by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. In a statement, Prince Buthelezi said Queen Mantfombi Dlamini's death had taken the Zulu Royal Family by surprise and left it utterly bereft.
Mantfombi Dlamini was born in 1956. Her father, Sobhuza II of Swaziland, was both the heir to an ancient dynasty and the founder of a country that was known at its independence as Swaziland. Mantfombi's brother, Sobhuza's successor Mswati III, would ultimately change their country's name to Eswatini in 2018.
Queen Mantfombi Dlamini, Swaziland's King Mswati the third’s sister, is the third wife to the late Zulu King. Married in 1977, she has eight children with King Zwelithini. Her son Prince Misuzulu is rumoured to be a strong contender to succeed the King.
After a traditional upbringing in the Swazi royal family, the princess was betrothed to the late King Goodwill Zwelithini in 1973. At the time of their betrothal, she was a member of the royal family of a sovereign state while her intended husband - a former Zulu chief that had acceded to the kingship of Zululand, a mediatised traditional authority in what was then Apartheid South Africa, some two years earlier - was deemed by some to be at something of a disadvantage in terms of relative dynasticity. As a result, a condition for their union from the Swazi palace was that she become his great wife, a position that would make her male children the favourites to succeed him when the time came. This was agreed to, and the couple ultimately married in 1977. As a result, even though the Zulu king has had six wives and twenty-eight children, it is expected that one of Dlamini's sons will be the next Zulu monarch.
Her family would continue to forge links with other African dynasties: Her brother Prince Thumbumuzi Dlamini married into the Mandela chieftaincy family of Mvezo in the same year as her betrothal. Through this union, she gained Zenani Mandela-Dlamini as a sister-in-law.
Dlamini is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (Seventh Day Adventist Church). Although the Zulu royal family maintains such traditional African practices as polygamy, this is not seen as conflicting with its professed Christianity - a situation that also exists in Eswatini.
Dlamini and King Goodwill had eight children. They are:
- Prince Misuzulu Zulu, born 23 September 1974 in Kwahlabisa, KwaZulu-Natal. He studied at International Studies in Jacksonville, Florida, and is a strong candidate as Zwelethini's successor.
- Princess Ntandoyesizwe Zulu, born 1976. She was married on 13 April 2002 at Enyokeni Royal Palace, Nongoma, to the late Kgosi Oupa Moilwa, Chief of the Bahurutse Bagamoilwa. The civil ceremony took place on July 11, 2004, in Pongola.
- Princess Nomkhosi Zulu, born 1978.
- Princess Bukhosibemvelo Zulu, born 1980, who married Sipho Nyawo. Her husband paid 120 cows as part of the ilobolo for her.
- Prince Bambindlovu Zulu, born in 1981
- Prince Lungelo Zulu, born in 1984
- Prince Mandlesizwe Zulu, born in 1990
- Prince Simangaye Zulu, born in 1991
Named Interim Leader of Zulu Nation
Queen Mantfombi Dlamini died on 29 April 2021. Her death was confirmed by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. In a statement, Prince Buthelezi said:
"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. This has taken us by surprise and left us utterly bereft. It is true that the Lord alone knows the days that He has allotted to each one of us. On behalf of the Royal Family, I wish to assure the nation that while we are all 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.
For details on Queen Mantfombi Dlamini's death see: Mantfombi Dlamini Death