South African President heartbroken as COVID-19 kills Her Majesty Queen Noloyiso Sandile of the AmaRharhabe Kingdom

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his profound sadness at the passing of Her Majesty Queen Noloyiso Sandile, Regent of the Royal House of the amaRharhabe. 

Queen Noloyiso, widow of the late King Maxhobha Sandile, passed away on the 8th of July 2020 following a short illness. The South African press reported that she died of COVID-19 at the age of 56.

 The amaRharhabe has been an independent sovereign kingship since the 18th century. It’s status was affirmed by a 2016 North Gauteng High Court judgment, overturning an earlier decision by the Nhlapo Commission.

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African Union Chair and President of South Africa His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the opening session of the AU and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) virtual conference on Africa's Leadership role in COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access on June 24, 2020. [Photo: GCIS]
African Union Chair and President of South Africa His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the opening session of the AU and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) virtual conference on Africa’s Leadership role in COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access on June 24, 2020. [Photo: GCIS]

The President has described the late queen as ‘a bastion of traditional values and an inspiring and principled leader of her people.’

President Ramaphosa has extended his deepest condolences to the Royal Household, amaRharhabe and the broader traditional communities and society. 

“Queen Noloyiso played a significant role in the affirmation of traditional values and leadership in South African society at large, and in the development of her kingdom and the Eastern Cape more broadly,” President Ramaphosa said.

The President added: “under her able leadership, the amaRharbabe firmly grasped the nettle of change and adapted to the demands of modern society, all the while holding proudly to their history, traditions and identity.”

The President has lauded Queen Noloyiso as a champion of rural women who challenged patriarchy in her community and gave a voice to its female constituents.

“At a time when we face a grave public health emergency in the form of coronavirus, Queen Noloyiso actively mobilized support for the national effort to combat the pandemic, including calling on communities to halt traditional initiations,” President Ramaphosa said.

“The united stand taken by the seven kingdoms in this regard was a critical intervention to save lives, and we owe a debt to the Queen for the role she played,” the President added.

“We join the Great Place of Mngqesha and amaRharhabe in mourning her passing; at the same time we pay tribute to her for her deep and unwavering commitment to the upliftment of her people and to her country. May her soul rest in peace.”

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