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The king’s 52-year-old sec­ond wife, who he di­vorced in 2002, was one of 16 abaThembu royal fam­ily mem­bers who wrote to Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma in 2012 ask­ing for his cer­tifi­cate of recog­ni­tion to be with­drawn due to his “un­royal be­hav­iour”, which in­cluded smok­ing dagga in pub­lic.

The royal fam­ily’s em­bar­rass­ment be­came more acute when his con­vic­tion of ar­son, kid­nap­ping, de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice and as­sault was up­held by the Supreme Court of Ap­peal in Bloem­fontein in Oc­to­ber.

The queen’s move to side with his de­trac­tors in­fu­ri­ated Dalindyebo so much that, dur­ing a fu­neral two years ago, he lam­basted her, call­ing her “a bitch” and chas­ing her out of the con­gre­ga­tion in full view of other mourn­ers.

She told City Press: “Some peo­ple say I am fight­ing the king just be­cause I ap­pear on the list that is call­ing for his de­thron­ing. I have al­ways been neu­tral in the fights he had with his fam­ily.

“Even those who want him de­throned are his fam­ily. I sit in dur­ing their meet­ings be­cause they in­vite me; they like me. I am there be­cause I think they are try­ing to fix the prob­lems fac­ing the Thembu,” she added.

The queen was present dur­ing the low­est point in the king’s life.

“When he was ar­rested for his cases, I was the one who bailed him out, be­cause he’s my hus­band. His fam­ily and friends were nowhere to be found. I could not leave him in jail. I paid R20 000 for se­nior coun­sel to rep­re­sent him. Even now, I would not like to see him be­hind bars, even though we have our dif­fer­ences,” she said.

But Nol­untu and Dalindyebo’s re­la­tion­ship has not al­ways been this “com­pli­cated”.

It de­vel­oped from a strong bond they had as chil­dren when their fam­i­lies en­joyed good ties in Sithebe vil­lage near Mthatha, where they grew up.

“We started lov­ing each other from a young age. We were teenage sweet­hearts. Our fam­i­lies knew each other well. My fa­ther had good re­la­tions with the king’s fa­ther,” she said.

In 1995, Nol­untu mar­ried Dalindyebo af­ter he di­vorced his first wife, No­col­lege Buy­iswa Ma­jiki, now an Eastern Cape judge and mother of Crown Prince Azenathi Dalindyebo, who the king re­cently named as his suc­ces­sor if he went to prison.

“He paid 15 cat­tle for me as lobola. Of those, 12 were on foot and the rest was paid in money. We were mar­ried in a civil union in com­mu­nity of prop­erty and in church af­ter his [first] di­vorce was fi­nalised. It was a white wed­ding – beau­ti­ful and ro­man­tic,” she said.

But hav­ing grown up in a ru­ral area and know­ing royal pro­to­col as she did, Nol­untu al­ways knew she would not be the wife to bear an heir to the king, as she did not come from a Nkosi Mfundo Mti­rara, King Dalindyebo’s spokesper­son, said Queen Nol­untu’s view was a case of sour grapes be­cause the king had di­vorced her.

“When she was mar­ried to the king, she was never against any­thing he was do­ing. What is she con­cerned about to­day?” he asked.

He said the cou­ple di­vorced be­cause she did not want to ac­cept any of his other wives.

“She con­tested the di­vorce. She did not want the king to marry again. That’s why he di­vorced her. She never ac­cepted the wives the king has now,” he said.

On her pay­ing bail for the king, Mti­rara said: “That money be­longed to the king and the na­tion. She was a re­gent. She had to pay the bail for the king be­cause the money was not hers to be­gin with.”

Mti­rara said that if Nol­untu did not want to see Dalindyebo go to prison, she would not have as­so­ci­ated her­self with peo­ple who wanted to de­throne the king and send him to jail.

“The royal fam­ily she as­so­ciates with are am­bas­sadors of the cam­paign to see the king sent to prison and de­throned. She is con­tra­dict­ing her­self,” he said.

Mti­rara said that if Nol­untu be­lieved there was a cri­sis in the na­tion, she had also con­trib­uted to it dur­ing her time as re­gent.

“We don’t see any cri­sis. We see progress,” said Mti­rara.


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IT’S COM­PLI­CATED Queen Nol­untu Dalindyebo speaks about her trou­bled re­la­tion­ship with King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo. She and the monarch di­vorced more than 13 years ago

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