Queen Mantfombi MaDlamini Zulu has been appointed regent of South Africa’s Zulu nation following the recent death of her husband.

King Goodwill Zwelithini, an influential traditional ruler, had been on the throne for five decades when he died earlier in March.

Queen MaDlamini Zulu is the late king’s third wife and sister to Mswati III, the monarch of neighbouring Eswatini.

Prime Minister of the Zulu nation, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, said her appointment was in line with King Zwelithini’s wishes.

His lawyers and some 200 members of the royal family met on Wednesday for the reading of the will.

The royal family would observe a three-month mourning period and further decisions about the king’s successor would be taken after that, Chief Buthelezi said.

“The loss of his majesty the king has been a tremendous blow and the family must be allowed to grieve,” he said.

King Zwelithini is survived by six wives and at least 26 children.

He was buried last Thursday at a private and secretive ceremony attended by a few select men from the royal family.

The days leading up to his funeral made for a colourful display of Zulu culture as hundreds gathered to commemorate the king’s life and legacy through song and dance in his hometown of Nongoma in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

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