South Africa’s Zulu King is dead at 72
The death has announced of South Africa’s Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini who died at the age of 72 after spending days in a hospital in his home country of South Africa.
The monarch was admitted in a hospital in KwaZulu-Natal last week to monitor his diabetic condition.
The king’s prime minister announced the death on Friday, March 12 in a statement released from the palace, he also thanked South Africa for its “continued prayers and support in this most difficult time”.
King of the Zulu nation, King Goodwill Zwelithini, was a direct descendent of King Cetshwayo who led the Zulu nation during the war with the British in 1879.
In 2015, he controversially said foreign nationals must pack up and return to their countries – at the time his comments were blamed for fuelling attacks against foreigners in his province.
The king later said the comments had been taken out of context and described the attacks as “vile”.
Although Kings have no official powers in modern South Africa, his powers are largely ceremonial.
He led the 11 million-strong Zulu nation – about 18% of South Africa’s population.
Goodwill Zwelithini was named successor to the throne at the age of 20 following his father’s death in 1968. He wasn’t crowned until 1971 because he went into hiding after receiving death threats.
Who will be Zulu king now?
It is not clear who among the king’s 28 children will succeed him – this is something the Zulu royal family will be expected to advise on.
He also leaves behind six wives.