Swazi king’s wife took overdose

Senteni Masango. PHOTO: The Edge
Senteni Masango. PHOTO: The Edge

King Mswati’s eighth wife, Senteni Masango – known as Inkhosikati LaMasango – has died after allegedly committing suicide.

She was found dead early on Friday morning, barely a week after burying her sister Nombuso Masango, whose funeral took place last Sunday at her parental home on the outskirts of central Swaziland.

The king’s wife is believed to have overdosed on about 40 amitriptyline capsules – widely used to block the long-term (chronic) pain of some rheumatic conditions and treat depression and related disorders.

She leaves behind two daughters.

The royal family announced on Friday that her vigil would be held at Ludzidzini royal residence and yesterday she was to be laid to rest this morning as per the dictates of Swazi royal family tradition.

She was known for being a good painter and she often auctioned her paintings to raise funds for local charity groups in Swaziland.

Her last public appearance was at the recent Marula Festival where she was a marvel to watch as she danced up a storm when it was time for members of the royal family to dance before the king and queen mother.

Two festivals were held during the last week of February where throngs of Swazi women delivered marula homebrew and other fruits before the queen mother Ntombi Thwala and King Mswati III.

The first event was held in northern Swaziland at the Buhleni royal residence.

Sources close to her have revealed how unhappy she was.

She alleged she was abused and neglected in the royal household.

It was alleged the king had not approved of her attending her dead sister’s memorial service and funeral.

It was rumoured that she lived alone for more than three years in a big mansion with not a single visit from her husband, the king.

When called for comment the king’s right-hand man Khandlela Mdluli could not be reached for comment.

King Mswati III chose his eighth bride Inkhosikati LaMasango, who was only 18 at the time, in September 1999.

It soon emerged she had a record for truancy, poor grades and she was a high-school dropout and a rebel.

The newspaper editor Bheki Makhubu who revealed the educational shortcomings of the king’s bride-to-be was arrested by the Royal Swaziland Police and charged with “criminal defamation”.

He was subsequently fired from the Times of Swaziland after refusing to apologise for publishing the story.

He was accused of “gross insubordination”.

Previously two of the king’s wives left his royal house.

Putsoana Hwala and Delisa Magwaza left the royal house in 2004.

Delisa Magwaza, better known as Inkhosikati LaMagwaza, fled the king’s palace in 2004 to London. She caused a stir when details of her relationship with a 23-year-old Swazi national living in Soweto emerged.

Putsoana Hwala, known as Inkhosikati LaHwala, also fled in 2004, leaving her three children behind, allegedly to hide in Alexandra, Johannesburg. LaHwala’s “fault” was attending parties without the royal family’s approval.

Angel Dlamini, popularly known as LaGija, has not been seen at royal functions. Nothando Dube was once caught in a compromising mood with one-time minister of justice Ndumiso Mamba in a hotel in Swaziland. That incident resulted in Mamba’s resignation from his ministerial position.

– Sibongakonke Nkosi and Staff reporter

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