Succession to the Swazi throne

In Eswatini, no king can appoint his successor. Only an independent special traditional Council called the Liqoqo decides which of the wives shall be "Great Wife" and "Indlovukazi" (She-Elephant / Queen Mother). The son of this "Great Wife" will automatically become the next king.[1]

King of Eswatini
Mswati III
StyleHis Majesty
Heir apparentNone
First monarchNgwane III

The "Great Wife" is chosen after the death of the king and must be of good character. Her character affects her child's chances of ascending to the status of king. According to Swazi culture, a son cannot be the heir if his mother is not of good standing. She must not bear the maiden name of Nkhosi-Dlamini as Dlamini is the name of the Royal House of Eswatini and she must not be a ritual wife (consequently the eldest son is never the heir).[2]

The king currently has 11 wives, (2 have permanently left him and 2 are late) 34 children and 4 grandchildren.[3] A Swazi king's first two wives are chosen for him by the national councillors. These two have special functions in rituals and their sons can never become kings. The first wife must be a member of the Matsebula clan, the second of the Motsa clan. These wives are known as tesulamsiti.

A royal fiancée is called liphovela, or "bride". They graduate from being fiancées to full wives as soon as they fall pregnant, when the king customarily marries them. But the traditional marriage, known as “Ludvendve” (marriage to the king) only follows later.[4]

In traditional Swazi culture, the king is expected to marry a woman from every clan in order to cement relationships with each part of Eswatini. This means that the king must have many wives.[2]

  • Inkhosikati (Queen) LaMatsebula—Ritual wife. Has a degree in Psychology.
    • Son: Prince Sicalo (1987) sired the King's second grandchild, a girl named Nomvula in 2013
    • Son: Prince Maveletiveni
  • Inkhosikati LaMotsa—Ritual wife. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador since 1996.[5]
    • Son: Prince Majahonkhe (1991) sired the King's first grandchild, a girl named Lamahle. Engaged gospel singer Nothando Hlophe (1989) in September 2019.
    • Son: Prince Buhlebenkhosi (1997) [6]
    • Son: Prince Lusuku
    • Son: Prince Sinawonkhe
  • 1986 Inkhosikati LaMbikiza—(born 16 June 1969 as Sibonelo Mngomezulu) Daughter of Percy Mngomezulu; an advocate, received an LLB from UNISA in 2001 and a graphic design degree from Limkokwing University in 2017. LaMbikiza is involved in the Swazi Royal Initiative to Combat AIDS (RICA). The initiative involves the recording of songs by Swazi, South African and international artists and the proceeds of the sales are allocated to programmes aimed at helping people affected by AIDS.[7]
    • Daughter: Princess Sikhanyiso Dlamini (1987)
    • Son: Prince Lindani Dlamini" (1989)
    • Son: Prince Makhosini "Omari" Dlamini (birthed in 1991 by Phindiwe Rita Dlamini, placed under the guardianship of LaMbikiza in 2006)
  • Inkhosikati LaNgangaza —(born 25 December 1970 as Carol Dlamini) Patron of world organisation "Hospice at Home" previously headed by Diana, Princess of Wales.
    • Daughter: Princess Temaswati Dlamini (1988)
    • Daughter: Princess Tiyandza Dlamini (1992) got engaged at Nhlangano Reed dance 2019 to Luis Leite
    • Daughter: Princess Tebukhosi Dlamini (1994) gave birth to the King's fourth grandchild, a boy named Tisekelo, in 2018
    • Daughter: Princess Mazwezulu Dlamini (2012)
  • Putsoana Hwala—(born 15 November 1974) She left the king on June 24, 2004 and moved to South Africa.[8]
    • Son: Prince Bandzile (1990)
    • Daughter: Princess Temashayina Sibahle (1996)
  • Delisa Magwaza—(born 1974 ??) She also left the king in 2004, after having an affair.[8] She married a South African businessman, with whom she has a child.[4]
    • Daughter: Mrs Schofield nee Princess Temtsimba Dlamini (1992) first of the King's children to get married; she married a jeweller named Michael Schofield on 22 July 2017 at Ludzidzini Royal Residence and gave birth to the King's third grandchild, a girl named Tiyabusa two months later
    • Daughter: Princess Sakhizwe Dlamini (1999)
  • August 2000 Inkhosikati LaMasango— (born 12 July 1981 as Senteni Masango and allegedly committed suicide, never confirmed, on 6 April 2018). At the time of her death she had been at her sister's funeral a week earlier, apparently without the king's consent.[9] She was a painter.
    • Daughter: Princess Sentelweyinkhosi (2000)
    • Daughter: Princess Sibusisezweni (2003)
  • December 1998 Inkhosikati LaGija— (born 15 June 1979 as Angel Dlamini). In May 2012 she left the royal compound.[10] She, however, marked her return to the Swazi royal household in 2018 by taking part in the Umhlanga Reed Dance and was also later seen at the 2018 World Trade Fair alongside the King, 7th wife LaMahlangu and Ritual wife LaMatsebula.
    • Daughter: Princess Nkhosiyenzile (2003)
  • June 2002 Inkhosikati LaMagongo— (born 1 March 1985 as Nontsetselo Magongo) Niece of Chief Mlobokazana Fakudze, Chief at Mgazini. She is away from the spotlight unlike the other queens, but she notably attended the inauguration of South Africa's 5th democratically elected President Cyril Ramaphosa in the country's capital city; Pretoria at Loftus Versveld Stadium alongside the King on 25 May 2019.
    • Son: Prince Mcwasho (2002)
  • November 2002 Inkhosikati LaMahlangu—(born 1984 as Zena Soraya Mahlangu) (see LaMahlangu controversy)
    • Son: Prince Saziwangaye (2004)
    • Daughter: Princess Lomabheka
  • May 2005 Inkhosikati LaNtentesa (born 1981 as Noliqhwa Ayanda Ntentesa), betrothed November 2002, married in a traditional function held at Ludzidzini Royal Residence May 26, 2005 [11] Graduated from the Institute of Development Management in 2017.
    • Daughter: Princess Sabusiswa Dlamini (2012)
  • 11 June 2005 Inkhosikati LaDube (born 6 February 1988)[12] as Nothando Dube died on 7 March 2019 at a South African hospital due to an illness related to skin cancer, a Miss Teen Swaziland finalist at age 16, chosen at the Umhlanga on August 30, 2004. She met the king at the birthday party of one of his children before she participated in the Miss Swaziland Teen beauty pageant. Her father is South African, from Barberton.
    • Daughter: Princess Makhosothando (2005)
    • Son: Prince Betive (2007)
    • Daughter: Princess Mahlemalangeni Temave (2009)
  • April 14, 2007 Inkhosikati LaNkambule (born 15 February 1988 as Phindile Nkambule), chosen at the Umhlanga in 2005 at age 17.[13]
    • Daughter: Princess Buhlebetive (2007)
    • Daughter: Princess Nikudumo Dlamini (2009)
    • Daughter: Princess Mphilwenhle Dlamini (2012)
    • Son: Prince Mehluli Dlamini (2014)
    • Daughter: Princess (2019)
  • August 30, 2014 Inkhosikati LaFogiyane (born 7 January 1995 as Sindiswa Dlamini), she was a beauty pageant contestant. She graduated from Mbabane's St. Francis High School in 2012 and was a finalist in the Miss Cultural Heritage beauty pageant. She was introduced at the Reed Dance in Shiselweni on 13 September 2013.[3] She became an Inkhosikati on August 30, 2014.[14]
    • Daughter: Princess Ntsandvweni (2015)
    • Daughter : Princess Nolikhwa (2017)
  • 2019 Inkhosikati LaMashwama (born 1998 as Siphelele Mashwama) Daughter of Jabulile Mashwama; one of the country's senators, graduated from the elite Waterford Kamhlaba high school in Eswatini and was a student at Rochester University in the United States when her parents terminated her studies in September 2017 to marry the King. Siphelele was notably voted the most eloquent speaker when she presented a paper on empathy at a conference in 2016 at the university.


  1. Kuper, Adam. "Rank and Preferential Marriage in Southern Africa: The Swazi". Man. Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. 1: 567–579.
  2. Wayua, Muli. "A king, his culture, his wives," Daily Nation (Nairobi, Kenya). December 7, 2002.
  3. Sapa-AFP (September 17, 2013). "Swaziland's King Mswati takes pageant contestant as 15th wife". Times Live. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  4. Swazi royal family thrown into sordid disarray IOL
  5. United Nations Development Programme: "UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Her Royal Highness Inkhosikati LaMotsa, speaks at the launch of the MDGs at Matsanjeni," Archived September 25, 2008, at the Wayback Machine 2007.
  6. eSwatini King attends son’s graduation in Taiwan Taiwan News. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  7. Los Angeles Times
  8. Ndiweni, Sikhumbuzo Ndiweni. "Swazi queens revolt," July 4, 2004.
  9. Swazi king’s wife took overdose News24
  10. Mswati’s 6th wife leaves palace IOL
  11. "Swazi King Mswati takes 12th wife". The Namibian. 14.06.05. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2009. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  12. "Swazi king picks young new wife". BBC News. September 26, 2005. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  13. Dlamini, Welcome (August 31, 2014). "King marries Liphovela lafogiyane". Swazi Observer. Swazi Observer. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
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