Queen Noloyiso Sandile, a sister to the current Zulu monarch – King Goodwill Zwelithini – has died from Covid-19, according to a royal family source.
It was reported that the 56-year-old Queen had been admitted at a hospital for Covid-19-related complications.
A source from the top South African royal family said 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 became regent as her son, Prince Jonguxolo Sandile, was too young to become king.
She was described by President Cyril Ramaphosa as “a bastion of traditional values and an inspiring and principled leader of her people”.
The President acknowledged the late Queen 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.
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.”
South Africa currently has 238,339 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with 3,720 fatalities. Globally, 12, 378,879 people have contracted Covid-19 and about 556, 585 people have died from the brutal disease as at Friday July 9.