Zulu royals back new king after family feud

The eldest son of South Africa’s late Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has been chosen as successor to the throne, amid a bitter family feud.

Prince Misuzulu, 46, was named in the will of Zulu Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu – his mother – who died unexpectedly last week.

Some family members openly voiced disapproval on Friday and the prince had to be led away by armed security.

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On Saturday, the family held a press conference to say he had their support.

South Africa’s Sunday Times reports that the new leader’s brother, Prince Thokozani, stood up to question the recognition of Prince Misuzulu as heir during Friday’s reading of the will of the queen. He was reportedly shouted down by other relatives.

The reading took place at the KwaKhangelamankengane Royal Palace on Friday evening, and was televised.

At a press conference on Saturday, Zulu traditional Prime Minister Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi assured reporters the family had since come together and pledged their loyalty to the new king, according to TimesLive.

Queen Dlamini-Zulu was buried earlier on Friday in a private ceremony in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province.

She had been appointed regent of the Zulus, South Africa’s largest ethnic group, after the death of her husband the king in March.

The throne does not have formal political power and the monarch’s role within broader South African society is largely ceremonial. But the Zulu monarchy remains hugely influential, and has a yearly taxpayer-funded budget of more than $4.9m (£3.5m).

King Zwelithini, who died from diabetes-related complications at the age of 72, had six wives and at least 26 children. But he picked Queen Dlamini-Zulu as his successor because she was the only wife with royal blood.

The queen’s death, at 65, has triggered a power struggle over the succession.

The royal family has dismissed rumours that she was poisoned as a misunderstanding. The cause of the queen’s death is yet to be announced.

Prince Misuzulu is now expected to lead the Zulu nation of about 11 million people.

The Zulu monarchy in South Africa has been plunged into controversy following the death of King Goodwill Zwelithini and – weeks later – the regent.

It has led to a vicious power struggle for the throne – royals are fighting it out in court, hurling insults in public, and fuelling rumours of the poisoning of rivals. -BBC

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