KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has expressed deep shock at the sudden passing of the Regent of the Zulu nation, Her Majesty Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, on Thursday.
“It is with profound sadness that we have received the heart-wrenching news of the untimely passing of Her Majesty the Queen. This is yet another tragedy of monumental proportions to befall the province and the people of KwaZulu-Natal,” Zikalala said.
In a statement issued on Friday, Zikalala said it is an unfathomable double blow not only to the royal family, but to the people of the province and the nation in its entirety.
He said it is even more shattering that Her Majesty has left in the middle of the mourning period for beloved monarch, King Zwelithini kaBhekuZulu, who passed away on 12 March 2021.
“With sorrow etched across our faces as we are reeling at the devastating news of Her Majesty’s passing, we extended our most heartfelt condolences to the royal family and the people of the province of KwaZulu-Natal and the Kingdom of eSwatini.
“Her Majesty was a bridge between the two monarchies and nations, a role which she performed with aplomb. On various occasions, such as the opening of the Legislature and many important occasions in the province, we were honoured to be graced by Her Majesty’s presence, in all her regal glory, alongside His Majesty the King,” Zikalala said.
Following pronouncements by the royal family only recently that Her Majesty would become Regent, Zikalala said they looked up to her to lead the Zulu nation during these difficult and unprecedented times in the history of the province.
“Her Majesty had stepped into a great tradition of distinguished women, who shaped history by leading in different complex and challenging epochs, breaking barriers and stereotypes in the process.
“Her leadership of one of the biggest and oldest traditional leadership institutions in history was admirable, and served as an inspiration for the advancement of women’s struggles not only in South Africa but in the world as a whole.
“Her ascendancy to the position of Regent underscored her own agency, and served to administer the final burial rites to the backward, patriarchal and chauvinistic tendencies that considered women as inferior beings, whose existence can only be confined to homes, providing support to husbands and caring for children,” Zikalala said.
He has asked the nation to put the royal family in its thoughts and prayers. “The harsh reality of losing both pillars of the family in such quick succession must be extremely difficult to bear.”
He said the provincial government is in constant contact with the royal family, and they will do their part to provide support to the royal family and the nation.
Suspension of provincial activities
The provincial government has called on all citizens to observe the period of mourning.
As part of paying respect to Her Majesty the Queen, Zikalala announced that the provincial government will scale down and suspend most of its activities.
The Premier is in communication with President Cyril Ramaphosa and the national government regarding the latest developments.
The Provincial Executive Council is expected to visit the royal family to offer its condolences.
Further developments will be communicated after engagements with the royal family and the national government.