Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu to be ‘planted’ on Thursday ahead of state memorial on Friday

04 May 2021 - 15:48
A state funeral has been declared for Zulu Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu.
A state funeral has been declared for Zulu Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu.
Image: Mkhuleko Hlengwa via Twitter

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a special provincial official funeral for regent of the Zulu nation, Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu.

The queen, who passed away last Thursday aged 65, will be laid to rest at a private burial at the “crack of dawn” on Thursday, traditional prime minister to the Zulu monarch and nation, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, announced on Monday.

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Buthelezi said her body would be transported from Johannesburg to her royal palace of KwaKhangelamankengane in Nongoma on Wednesday in preparation for the burial.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalalala said in a statement on Tuesday that he welcomed Ramaphosa’s decision to honour the queen with an official funeral.

Zikalala said the queen had dedicated much of her time to uplifting children in need and women empowerment.

“Her majesty played a critical role in advising and supporting the late King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuZulu in conflict resolution and promoting peace,” said Zikalala.

He appointed four MECs to work with the royal family “to facilitate a fitting farewell”.

Zikalala said the memorial service/funeral will take place on Friday.

Dr Gugu Mazibuko, a University of KwaZulu-Natal cultural expert, told TimesLIVE the finer details of the queen’s private burial are confidential and will be closely guarded by the royal family.

“As respect to the throne it is correct to say she will be planted because she was the interim head of the Zulu nation.

“She was a princess from Swaziland but she was married to the Zulu king. The processes that will be followed will be in accordance with the practices of the Zulu royal family.”

Mazibuko said she was not sure whether the queen would be laid to rest in a seated position as it was “confidential and for the royal family to decide”.

She said the royal family would be guided by elders in the family when it came to the burial.

It is the first time in our history where we have a female regent, who is a queen, passing on while the royal family is still mourning our king.
Dr Gugu Mazibuko, University of KwaZulu-Natal cultural expert

“The first challenge is that it is the first time in our history where we have a female regent, who is a queen, passing on while the royal family is still mourning our king.

“It has never happened in history whereby a regent queen passes on while on the throne. Those are those complications in dealing with something that has never happened. There is nowhere to draw from past experience.

“Queen Msweli, mother of King Dinuzulu, was also a regent queen but she passed on while her son was the king. There was a process followed then.

“This is now a unique situation that will form part of the new history.

“In the royal family there are elders. I think they will have private conversations about the processes that will unfold.

“They will not disclose the exact details because those are sacred spaces.

“In our culture when a female dies, men will be there. There are things men do. The finer details we will not know.

“The queen was the regent for the entire nation, which is always surrounded by amabutho, a regiment of Zulu warriors.

“We don’t know how close they are going to come, but they are likely to be present.

“Details of what items will be buried with her majesty are very secret and not communicated to the public.

“I can only comment about an ordinary Zulu person in terms of the burial. When anyone dies, the things that he or she has been using go down with him/her. It will be a few important things, like certain clothes. It depends on their families.

“With the royal family, they keep it very exclusive and private.

“The burial at the crack of dawn signifies a new dawn, a new chapter for the regent,” said Mazibuko.

TimesLIVE


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