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As royal family moves to bury Queen Regent, tensions hover over Zulu throne

The Amazulu royal kingdom has announced the official burial date of the late Queen Regent Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu.

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The Zulu people during a traditional ceremony.

The Amazulu royal kingdom has announced the official burial date of the late Queen Regent Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu. The burial will be held at midnight on May 6 according to royal customs.

Independent Online reported the burial arrangements that the family has concluded as announced by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the traditional prime minister of the Zulu nation. 

“On Wednesday 5 May, Her Majesty’s body will be transported from Johannesburg to her Royal Palace of KwaKhangelamankengane in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal, where preparations for her burial will take place on Thursday.” The burial will be a close family affair and will take place in the middle of the night.

Additionally, a “memorial service will be held on Friday at KwaKhangelamankengane Palace, which will be presided over by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church to which Her Majesty belonged. It is expected, however, that His Grace, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church, will also participate,” Buthelezi said.

The prevailing COVID-19 pandemic puts a strain on attendance for the memorial service. “Her Majesty’s memorial service will be attended by members of the Royal Families of both the Kingdoms of Zululand and eSwatini. This will further reduce the number of mourners allowed in terms of COVID-19 protocols. Such protocols will be strictly maintained,” Buthelezi added. 

Meanwhile, Sihle Zikalala said he submitted a request to the Presidency to declare a state funeral for the departed regent, SABC News reported. Zikalala is the premier of KwaZulu-Natal Province.

The death of Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu leaves a temporary vacuum on the Amazulu throne. The late regent is from the royal house of eSwatini, the daughter of King Sobhuza II and step-sister to King Mswati III of eSwatini. She was the great wife of King Goodwill Zwelithini, who passed earlier on March 12. By implication, only her offspring, especially her sons, have a right to the throne, even though she was the king’s third wife.

While only a married prince can ascend the throne, the late regent’s son, 47-year-old Prince Misuzulu Zulu, the immediate heir to the throne, is unmarried. The regent’s three-month appointment was rumored to be a tactic employed to afford the prince ample time to find a wife and not necessarily to mourn the late king as the royal family claimed in March.

Independent Online also reported that royal sources claim the monarch will announce the next Zulu king after the memorial service, with Prince Misuzulu ascending the throne. Misuzulu is the son of the late Queen Dlamini-Zulu and King Goodwill Zwelithini. In March, an anonymous insider tipped off pressmen that the late king’s will has confirmed Prince MisuZulu as his successor.

The traditional council will make the appointment to ensure that there is no leadership vacuum that “could be exploited and used to divide the royal house,” according to royal sources.

The matter has not gone down well with Princess Thembi Zulu and Prince Mbonisi Zulu, the late king’s siblings. Queen Sibongile Dlamini-Zulu and her daughters, princesses Ntandoyenkosi Zulu and Ntombizosuthu Zulu-Duma, have gone to court to contest his will. They claim someone forged his signature. Queen Sibongile is the late monarch’s first wife.The royal family confirmed that the fight over who will succeed the late king is now heading to the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, SABC News reported.

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South African billionaire Johann Rupert-linked SEACOM partners with BT Group

Seacom is privately funded and 75 percent African-owned.

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Johann Rupert. ©Billionaires.Africa

SEACOM has announced a strategic alliance with UK telecommunications service provider BT Group as it prepares to enter the African enterprise cybersecurity market.

SEACOM is a leading pan-African telecom services provider linked to South Africa’s richest man Johann Rupert.

The partnership aligns with SEACOM’s plans to expand its portfolio of services targeting African businesses. By leveraging BT Group’s infrastructure and expertise, SEACOM hopes to secure its own infrastructure and deliver new networking and security solutions to African businesses.

“With SEACOM’s global network and local presence and BT’s global reach and expertise, we will be able to deliver a comprehensive portfolio of cloud, security, and connectivity services that are reliable, scalable, and at the cutting-edge of the industry,” Oliver Fortuin, CEO of SEACOM, said.

BT Group, which protects some of the world’s largest organizations from cyber threats through a dedicated network of security operations centers around the world, announced that SEACOM customers will gain access to BT Group’s Cloud Security Incident Event Management (SIEM) platform.

The SIEM platform provides real-time visibility and monitoring across an organization’s entire IT environment, acting as an additional layer of security to SEACOM’s existing ICT solutions.

Seacom, which bills itself as Africa’s most extensive ICT infrastructure provider, is privately funded and 75-percent African-owned, with Rupert’s investment holding Remgro owning 30 percent of the company.

South African mining magnate Patrice Motsepe owns a 15-percent stake in the pan-African telecom services provider through his financial services conglomerate, Sanlam.

Jubilee Holdings, a Kenyan investment holding backed by Aga Khan IV (Shah Karim al-Husayni), increased its stake in SEACOM from 8.8 to 18.8 percent earlier this year after acquiring an additional 10-percent stake in the company.

According to Nizar Juma, chairman of Jubilee Holdings, the transaction will strengthen the company’s ability to diversify its investment priorities across major sectors of the economy.

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South African tech tycoon Zak Calisto gains $166 million in four weeks

Calisto is one of Africa’s richest tech entrepreneurs.

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South African tech tycoon Zak Calisto.

As the frenzy returns to equity markets, shares in Karooooo Limited have risen recently by double digits due to sustained buying interest as investors bet on tech stocks trading at all-time lows.

Karooooo Limited is a mobility platform led by South African businessman Zak Calisto.

As a result of the recent market surge, the value of Calisto’s 74.7-percent stake in Karooooo has increased by $166 million in the past 27 days to well above $640 million.

Calisto, who founded Karooooo and grew it into an international provider of smart transportation management solutions, is one of South Africa’s wealthiest men and one of Africa’s richest tech entrepreneurs.

As of press time on Aug. 10, the company’s shares were trading at $27.85 per share, up from their opening price of $26.98 per share earlier this week. The Singapore-based mobility platform’s market capitalization is presently $860 million.

The company’s shares have increased from a price of $20.65 to $27.85 at the time of writing this report, representing a 34.87-percent gain for patient investors since July 14.

The market value of Calisto’s shareholding in Karooooo has increased from $477.6 million on July 14 to $644.1 million at the time of writing, representing a $166-million gain for the tech tycoon.

The renewed buying interest in Karooooo’s shares can be attributed to investor reactions to the company’s double-digit increase in earnings in the first quarter of its 2023 fiscal year.

According to its recently published first quarter results, the Singapore-based global mobility SaaS platform’s profit increased by 44 percent to R156 million ($9.37 million), up from R108 million ($6.48 million) in the first quarter of 2022.

Earnings increased by double digits due to the higher revenue generated during the period, as the company’s total subscriber base surpassed 1.5 million, up from less than 1.4 million a year ago.

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South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe’s net worth slumps by $400 million as rand tumbles

Despite his declining net worth, Motsepe remains one of South Africa’s richest men.

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Patrice Motsepe. ©Billionaires.Africa

South African billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe’s net worth has plummeted by millions of dollars since the start of the year due to a decline in the value of the South African rand against the U.S. dollar.

The tumbling of South Africa’s national currency has significantly impacted the market value of Motsepe’s mining and financial services companies.

One of Africa’s richest businessmen and the wealthiest Black billionaire in Southern Africa, Motsepe has seen his net worth fall by $400 million since the year began — from $3.1 billion to $2.7 billion at the time of writing.

The majority of his net worth is derived from his 39.7-percent stake in African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), a South African mining company he founded in 1997. Motsepe also owns a substantial shareholding in Ubuntu-Botho Investments and African Rainbow Capital.

Motsepe’s stake in the mining firm, which has positions in a variety of mines including iron, coal, copper, gold, and other precious metals, was valued at $1.16 billion at the close of trading on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on Tues., Aug. 9, significantly lower than its value of $1.3 billion at the start of this year.

His recent wealth loss puts him in the ranks of those African billionaires whose net worth has dropped by more than $300 million this year, including Ethiopia’s richest man Mohammed Al-Amoudi, South African billionaire Johann Rupert, Zimbabwean tech tycoon Strive Masiyiwa, and Swazi billionaire businessman Natie Kirsh.

The sharp depreciation of the rand, which has impacted the market valuation of his companies, most of which are based in South Africa, comes on the heels of a recent surge in demand for the U.S. dollar, as investors seek the safety of the greenback in an era of high economic uncertainty.

Despite his declining net worth, Motsepe remains not only one of South Africa’s richest men, but also one of the continent’s wealthiest billionaires.

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