First glimpse into Zulu royal home

By admin
07 May 2010

The long, winding path that leads to Kwa-Nongoma in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands is picturesque, with lush veld as far as the eye can see. This is one of the most beautiful parts of the country and it’s where you’ll find the land of King Goodwill Zwelithini and his family.

We’re warmly welcomed by Princess Nandi Zulu (32), who has invited us to the house where she and her five brothers and two sisters were raised and where her mom, Queen Buhle, still lives.

A woman in a tracksuit and peak cap puts away her garden fork and with a warm smile extends her hand in greeting. Then Nandi shocks us, saying, “Guys, this is my mom.”

We hardly expected to find one of King Zwelithini’s wives hard at work in the garden but Queen Buhle, we quickly discover, is remarkably down-to-earth.

“If you’re not active you get older much quicker,” she explains.

It’s clear these royals are no strangers to hard work and live a pretty normal life.

The princess tells us there were no thrones or dozens of servants waiting on them hand and foot, even when they were kids. Queen Buhle (59), the king’s second wife, insisted her eight children make their own beds and do their fair share of chores when they were growing up.

The impressive KwaDlamahlahla Residence is divided into two parts by a foyer. The front entrance is used only by King Zwelithini - everybody else has to use the back door. This section of the house has four bedrooms, a lounge and a dining room. The back section, which leads off the foyer, also has a large dining room and lounge and boasts two kitchens.

King Zwelithini was stern and his kids knew they could have their own way everywhere except at home. “He was strict but he’s also a very sweet man,” Nandi says of her father.

“He’s also funny and jokes around a lot. We’re close and have our father-daughter moments. I’m outspoken and he thinks I’m stubborn but he has realised that I’m strong-willed and my own person.”

She’s close to her siblings, she says. None of them is married and they’re all either studying or running their own business. Nandi married Xhosa chief Mfundo Bovulengwa Mtirara in 2002 but reportedly walked out after two years.

“I’m not allowed to talk about that part of my life,” she says. Her silence is by royal decree and she won’t even confirm how the marriage came to an end. “But I can say I’m happy with the life I lead. I’m proud of everything I’ve achieved so far.”

Get the latest issue of YOU (13 May) for the full story and beautiful pictures of the princess and her family home.

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