Royal family split over Dalindyebo’s ‘great wife’ search

2014-01-19 10:00

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There’s a right royal ruckus brewing in the Eastern Cape.

The king of the abaThembu, Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, appears to have given up his search for a wife of royal blood and has instead declared one of his sons his heir, disregarding royal tradition.

Thembu custom dictates that the nation of abaThembu finds and pays lobola for a “great” wife – a woman of royal lineage.

Dalindyebo has four wives, none of whom has royal blood.

His fifth wife died two years ago. He has six children – three sons and three daughters.

Last year, the controversial king ordered his subjects to find him a royal wife before the end of December.

But the royal family is deeply unhappy, saying it gave the king plenty of opportunity to identify and marry a “great” wife.

The spokesperson for the royal family, Daludumo Mtirara, told City Press that Dalindyebo refused to cooperate with attempts to find him a royal partner.

Mtirara is one of the members of the Thembu nation who wants Dalindyebo dethroned.

“When we said we will find him a wife as per custom, he insulted us,” Mtirara said.

“He said when we find the wife, we must be prepared to sleep with her and have sex with her as he was not prepared to do so.

“His unexpected and disrespectful response surprised the members of the royal family because they thought that he understood the significance of the custom of the kingdom.”

Mtirara confirmed that none of Dalindyebo’s wives met the requirements of the Thembu custom to bear “an undisputed heir for the reign of the kingdom of abaThembu”.

The matter has been dragging on for years. It was first raised and discussed during a meeting in September 2012, Mtirara said, and hit a snag then because of the king’s refusal to cooperate.

The royal family is still waiting for the government to implement a resolution that they took in 2012 to withdraw the certificate of recognition of Dalindyebo as king.

This means that even if a “great” wife was found and a child born, the royal family would not recognise any heir identified by Dalindyebo.

Dalindyebo recently told the Daily Dispatch that one of his three sons would be his heir.

Dalindyebo could not be reached for comment.

His spokesperson and senior traditional leader of the abaThembu, Nkosi Mfundo Mtirara, said: “The king has not briefed me on this matter, so I cannot comment on something we don’t know.”

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