South African judge clears way for prince to claim Zulu crown

JOHANNESBURG – A South African judge on Wednesday cleared the way for Prince Misuzulu to be crowned the next Zulu king, but suspended the execution of his father’s contested will. King Goodwill Zwelithini died in March last year at age 72 after 50 years on the throne, leaving behind his six wives and at least 28 children. In his will he had named his favourite, third wife Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini, as regent of the more than 11 million Zulus who make up nearly a fifth of South Africa’s population. But Shiyiwe died suddenly in April, leaving a will designating their son Misuzulu Zulu, 47, to ascend to the throne. Queen Sibongile Dlamini, the king’s first wife, had demanded 50 percent of the estate. Two of her daughters also sued to stop Misuzulu’s coronation until the will is verified. The judge, Isaac Madondo, said Queen Sibongile’s petition was premature, and tossed out the princesses’ bid to stop the coronation. “No-one else is laying claim to the throne,” the judge said. “He is the undisputed successor to the throne.” However, Madondo suspended execution of the will that would divide up the king’s vast estate. The two princesses, Ntandoyenkosi and Ntombizosuthu, claimed one signature on the will was forged. The judge agreed to let that issue go to trial in Pietermaritzburg, capital of South Africa’s eastern KwaZulu-Natal province. The Zulu king, who had no executive power but wielded great moral influence over his subjects, owned thousands of hectares (acres) of land as well as several palaces and other properties. Some Zulus say royal matters have no business going before a court, and dozens of Zulu warriors wearing animal skins and carrying shields and spears protested outside the courthouse on Tuesday, singing traditional songs.

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