International

‘Inspiring’ South African queen dies of Covid-19

AmaRharhabe Queen Noloyiso Sandile

A royal family in South Africa has confirmed the death of Queen Noloyiso Sandile from Covid-19.

A sister to the current Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini, she served as regent of the amaRharhabe royal family.

Queen Noloyiso was married to the amaRharhabe monarch, Maxhoba Sandile, for over two decades until his death in 2011.

She was then made the regent as her son, Prince Jonguxolo Sandile, was too young to become king.

The 56-year-old had been admitted at a hospital for Covid-19-related complications, the public broadcaster SABC reported.

President Cyril Ramaphosa described her as “a bastion of traditional values and an inspiring and principled leader of her people”, saying she had played a significant role in the development of her kingdom in the Eastern Cape.

South Africa has seven officially recognised monarchs representing different ethnic groups and clans.

Mr Ramaphosa said:

 “Under her able leadership, the amaRharhabe firmly grasped the nettle of change and adapted to the demands of modern society, all the while holding proudly to their history, traditions and identity.”

He also commended her as a champion of rural women who challenged patriarchy in her community:

“At a time when we face a grave public health emergency in the form of coronavirus, Queen Noloyiso actively mobilised support for the national effort to combat the pandemic, including calling on communities to halt traditional initiations.

 “The united stand taken by the seven kingdoms in this regard was a critical intervention to save lives, and we owe a debt to the Queen for the role she played.”

The government tweeted a link to his full statement: