- The Zulu royal family says King Goodwill Zwelithini is heartbroken that he could not save his sister's life.
- The marriage of the late Zulu princess to late AmaRharhabe King Maxhoba Sandile had united the two nations, the royal family said.
- Queen Noloyiso Sandile died of Covid-19 at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in East London.
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini is heartbroken that he could not save the life of his sister, Queen Noloyiso Sandile, who died of Covid-19 on Wednesday, the Zulu royal family said on Thursday.
Sandile, a reigning queen of the AmaRharhabe nation in the Eastern Cape, died in Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in East London on Wednesday at the age of 56.
She was born Nomusa Zulu in Kwa Nongoma to the late Zulu monarch, Cyprian Bhekuzulu ka Solomon.
In 1988, at the age of 25, she married AmaRharhabe King Maxhoba'yakhawuleza Sandile in Bhisho.
Following the death of her husband in 2011, she was coronated acting queen - a position she was meant to hold until her son, Jonguxolo Sandile, came of age.
Zulu Royal family spokesperson and Sandile's brother, Mbonisi kaBhekuzulu, said King Zwelithini tried to save his sister's life.
"It is sad news indeed to us as the family and the entire Zulu nation and to the AmaRharhabe kingdom. My king tried his level best to assist her sick sister but could not save her. He is heartbroken. This is a blow the country, Zulu nation and the AmaRharhabe nation."
KaBhekuzulu said his sister's marriage to Maxhoba Sandile had brought unity between the two nations.
He also said the Zulu royal family would await communication from the AmaRharhabe nation before making any further pronouncements.
"We were in constant communication with the AmaRharhabe royal family and they made sure my king was kept informed all the time regarding her condition, but the news of her passing came as a shock."
According to Zulu royal custom, King Zwelithini is not permitted to attend any funerals, including his own family's.
Buffalo City Mayor Xola Pakati said: "The news of the passing of Queen Noloyiso, Ah Noloyiso, is very shocking and shattering to us. We are seriously wounded by this news and we are in fact without proper words to explain the [depth] of our grief. The queen was involved in affairs of development for all her subjects. Her contribution to community development is unmatched.
"We send our condolences to the family, the entire kingdom of AmaRharhabe and the people of our city and surrounds who are sharing in the grief. This is a devastating loss for all of us. We are all shattered," said the mayor.
*Note: This story has been updated to reflect that King Goodwill Zwelithini does not attend funerals, according to royal Zulu tradition.