MUST SEE – Wives of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini

King Goodwill Zwelithini

1st – Queen Sibongile Dlamini

2nd – Queen Buthle Mathe

3rd – Late Senior Queen Mantfombi Dlamini

4th – Queen Thandekile Ndlovu

5th – Queen Nompumelelo Mchiza

6th – Queen Zola Zelusiwe Mafu

I think Queen Zola will play a key role in grooming the future Wives of King Misuzulu (especially now that Queen Mantfombi is no more)

Here’s a brief background of Queen Zola Zelusiwe Mafu

(This article was first published in 2014.)

She was first spotted at the 2003 reed dance in eSwatini. That is traditionally an event where Swazi King Mswati III chooses a bride. But she was whisked away from her family’s humble sugarcane farm in Swaziland’s Simunye district by Queen Mantfombi – who is both sister of the Swazi King, and third wife of the Zulu king – “to learn Zulu culture”. She has 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.

King Goodwill Zwelithini

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.

It is also rumoured that the building of her Ulundi residence, Ondini Palace, fell foul of political allegiances, as KwaZulu-Natal government changed from IFP to ANC control, and its completion was delayed.

But all that seems to be in the past now, after a weekend wedding with all the trimmings.

It was her public debut and, without saying a word publicly, the Queen revealed her charisma and coquettish charm through dance and song. After entering the Ulundi stadium covered by a blanket as per Zulu wedding tradition, she emerged like a butterfly from a cacoon after handing over her blanket to her mother-in-law, Queen Mavis Zungu.

From then on the stage was hers, as she charmed the king, amakhosi, guests and media.

This charisma and radiance may explain why she stood out at the reed dances of 2002/3, amid the thousands of maidens.

Swazi newspapers and royal courtiers had at the time singled her out for unusual praise at the annual Umhlanga Reed Dance fertility ceremony in 2002, and again at the Swazi reed dance in 2003. The reed dances are usually held in August/September.

“She is quite beautiful and although she is a commoner, she already carries herself with the grace of a princess,” Swazi royalty reporter Charles Mathebula said at the time.

“Zola was a wonderful social butterfly, but with brains as well, and was great fun to be with. We all knew she would go far,” classmate Sandile Bhembe told journalists.

She was also a friend of King Mswati III’s then-fiancee, Liphovela Noliqwa, and served as her informal lady-in-waiting.

At the prestigious St Marks High School in the capital Mbabane, she was named “most popular” matriculant of the year in 2003.

Zola is the youngest of six children, with two brothers and three sisters. She was also a prefect and excelled in her role as chair of the local Mbabane/Mbuluzi Rotary Club’s research committee. But in Zululand, she is still a mysterious presence. Perhaps because of scandal, perhaps because of protocol, she has been kept under wraps at the palace in KwaNongoma for a decade. A royal-family group attending Sunday night’s wedding party said, “We don’t know her. She has not been out in public since her arrival in the country. She has been confined to the palace. She hasn’t been given any (community) projects. Now that she is officially queen, she will take on a more public role.”

Prepare to be charmed.

King Goodwill Zwelithini