She was whisked away by Mantfombi Dlamini from a sugarcane farm in Swaziland's Simunye "to learn Zulu culture”. She stayed for a decade in the KwaKhangela Palace with Queen Mantfombi before she was married by King Zwelithini in 2014. In her family, Zola is the youngest of six children, with two brothers and three sisters. Zwelithini's third wife, Queen Mantfombi of Swaziland, spotted Zola during 2003's reed dance in Swaziland.
In 2005 at the age of 18, she gave birth to Prince Nhlendla. While King Zwelithini paid lobolo for her, the wedding was delayed a number of times. In 2008, Zwelithini told a gathering that the wedding had been delayed due to the death of Mafu’s father in 2007. The wedding could not go on because the Mafu family was still in mourning. The wedding was postponed to allow for the bride’s mother to be able to attend the wedding.
Further delays were experienced even after the mourning period as reports that members of the Mafu family were squabbling over who should receive lobolo.
She attended St Marks High School in Swaziland's capital Mbabane where she was named "most popular" matriculant of the year in 2003. She was also a prefect and excelled in her role as chair of the local Mbabane/Mbuluzi Rotary Club's research committee.
- VIVIEN SANDT, From the archives: Who is King Goodwill Zwelithini's sixth wife, Queen Zola Mafu?, DRUM, Published: 2014, Retrieved: April 13, 2021
- Mother accepts teen's marriage to king, Sunday Times, Published: July 18, 2004, Retrieved: April 13, 2021
- BHEKI MBANJWA, King Zwelithini to wed 6th wife, IOL, Published: July 22, 2014, Retrieved: April 30, 2021
- Ellissa Bain, WHO ARE GOODWILL WELITHINI’S WIVES? ZULU KING’S SIX MARRIAGES EXPLORED!, HITC, Published: March 12, 2021, Retrieved: April 13, 2021