WHAT THE KING SAYS
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royal family members who wrote to President Jacob Zuma in 2012 asking for his certificate of recognition to be withdrawn due to his “unroyal behaviour”, which included smoking dagga in public.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.
TALK TO US
Who do you support? The king or his ex?
SMS your thoughts to 35697 using the keyword KING. SMSes cost R1.50. Please include your name
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