'Ambassador of our cultural heritage': Tributes pour in for Queen Noloyiso

King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu is enrobed by AmaRharhabe Queen Regent Noloyiso Sandile during his coronation in Nqadu Great Place in Nqadu, Gatyane.
King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu is enrobed by AmaRharhabe Queen Regent Noloyiso Sandile during his coronation in Nqadu Great Place in Nqadu, Gatyane.
  • Noloyiso Sandile, who died of Covid-19, was the daughter of Zulu monarch Cyprian Bhekuzulu ka Solomon.
  • She was the sister of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.
  • Her death was described as a great loss to South Africa.

Tributes continue to pour in for the AmaRharhabe queen in the Eastern Cape and Zulu princess, Noloyiso Sandile, who died of Covid-19 on Wednesday.

Arts and Culture MEC in the Eastern Cape, Fezeka Bayeni, described Sandile as an active ambassador of cultural heritage.

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane said he would remember her as someone who uplifted her nation and legislature deputy speaker Mlibo Qhoboshiyane said she was a distinguished leader.

Sandile died of Covid-19 at 13:30 at Cecelia Makiwane Hospital in East London on Wednesday at the age of 56.

She was born Nomusa Zulu to late Zulu monarch Cyprian Bhekuzulu ka Solomon and was the sister of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.

READ | Ricardo Mthembu, ANC KZN spokesperson, dies of Covid-19

In 1988, at the age 25, she married AmaRharhabe King Maxhoba'yakhawuleza Sandile in Bhisho.


Following the death of her husband in 2011, she was crowned acting queen - a title she was meant to hold until her son, Jonguxolo Sandile, comes of age.

Mabuyane said: "We take this opportunity to convey out heartfelt condolences to the Kingdom of AmaRharhabe following the tragic news. We had been in contact with the royal family during the time she was not feeling well and making sure she received support. We were shocked to learn of her passing this evening."

"To the nation of Rharhabe, Gcaleka and the entire Xhosa nation and people of the Eastern Cape, we are all united together in this tragedy that has befallen AmaRharhabe."

READ | King Goodwill Zwelithini 'heartbroken' at death of Queen Noloyiso

Eastern Cape legislature deputy speaker, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, described Sandile as a distinguished leader.

"[Around] 2012/2013, as we were resolving some traditional disputes and coronating some senior traditional leadership under her jurisdiction. She executed her roles with great fortitude and courage.

"Her respect for custom, tradition and decorum of inter-generational system distinguished her. Words cannot describe the sadness after the untimely news of her departure in this earth. A down to earth queen of amaRharhabe. Lala ngoxolo mama WeSizwe (Rest in peace mother of the nation.)"

MEC for the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture Fezeka Bayeni said Sandile was a living human treasure, repository and active ambassador of our cultural heritage.


She said the department enjoyed a very warm, cordial, constructive and progressive relationship with Mngqesha Great Place.

"She was the embodiment of our indigenous customs, traditions and culture and took a centre stage in ensuring the Eastern Cape's rich and diverse cultural heritage was preserved, showcased and promoted in a manner that restored the dignity of African communities while at the same time promoting nation building, unity, peace, inclusive society, social justice and social cohesion," said Bayeni.

She said the death of Sandile was a great loss to South Africa and came at a time when the kingdoms were ravaged by internal division and strife.

"She was a voice of wisdom and a champion of unity and peace in the House of Phalo," said Bayeni.

The Queen's death comes as the Xhosa nation is eight months into one year of mourning of the death of AmaXhosa King Zwelonke Sigcau.

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