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Ndlovukati of Eswatini
Coat of arms of Eswatini.svg
Ntombi Tfwala 20160607.jpg
since 25 April 1986
Style Her Majesty
Heir apparent None
First monarch LaYaka Ndwandwe
Residence Ludzidzini Royal Village, Lobamba

Ndlovukati (literally, "She-Elephant", pl. tiNdlovukati; also spelled Indlovukazi) is the Siswati title for the female monarch of Eswatini and is roughly equivalent to a Queen Mother or Senior Queen in other countries. The title is given preferentially to the mother of the reigning King (styled the Ngwenyama , "Lion of Swaziland"), or to another female royal of high status if the King's mother has died. Indlovukati rules alongside the Ngwenyama, and when there is no King, she rules as a Queen Regent. The current Ndlovukati is Queen Ntombi Tfwala, the mother of Ngwenyama Mswati III and wife of Sobhuza II. She was also Queen Regent from 1983 until 1986 when Mswati became King. The most notable Queen Regent was Ndlovukati Labotsibeni Mdluli who ruled Swaziland from 1899 until 1921 when she abdicated for Sobhuza II.



The Ndlovukati is traditionally joint monarch of Eswatini with the King. The king is seen as the administrative head of state, while she is seen as the spiritual and national head of state. Several of the Ndlovukati's functions are to control important ritual substances (sometimes called medicines) and knowledge necessary for inaugurating of the rule of a Ngwenyama, rainmaking, and the annual renewal of national and kingly strength in the incwala rites. [1] The Ndlovukati also leads the nation as Queen Regent following a King's death and during the youth of a crown prince. Other notable Tindlovukati are Tsandzile Ndwandwe, Lojiba Simelane, Tibati Nkambule, and Labotsibeni Mdluli from nineteenth century Swaziland.


Historically, there have been a number of Ndlovukati with great substantial power as well as influence, especially (though not exclusively) in periods of regency. The power of the Ndlovukati was explicitly understood as a counterweight to that of the Ngwenyama and also to potentially rival royal princes. This was the case especially during the reign of Mswati II and Tsandzile Ndwandwe. Like royal governors who were not from the royal Dlamini dynasty, the Ndlovukati could not accede to the throne, thus offering an alternative source of power to rein in overweaning Tingwenyama who could not challenge directly to be the Ngwenyama.

During the long reign of Sobhuza II (1899-1982), his grandmother Ndlovukati Labotsibeni Mdluli (also known as "Gwamile") was the last great bearer of the title, being the primary Swazi political power from Sobhuza's accession as an infant in 1899 until his accession to full power in 1922. However, over the following 60 years the practical power and influence of the office of ndlovukati became greatly overshadowed, in part because the British chose to recognize the powers of the king (whom they called the "Paramount Chief") over those of the senior, in part because of the force of Sobhuza's personality in contrast to the tindlovukati who succeeded his own mother after she died in 1938, and in part because of conservative aristocratic Swazi male reactions to colonialism, which created a new and more rigid form of patriarchy now called and argued by some to be mischaracterised as "traditional". The office of Ndlovukati suffered a further blow after the death of Sobhuza II, when a holder of the office was implicated in the political machinations of Prince Mfanasibili aimed at usurping the kingship. Thus the political-cultural ideals and historical meanings of the office expressed above do not really characterise the Ndlovukati today, whose position has become much weaker than that of the Ngwenyama.

At any time where there is both an Ingwenyama and an Indlovukati, which is most of the time, there are two royal villages. Even during a regency when the king is a minor, a proto-form of his headquarters is prepared. The King's headquarters is where he carries out his administrative duties; the Ndlovukati's, which is called umphakatsi, (meaning "the inside," and a term also applied to the royal insiders and close allies as a group) is the national capital and spiritual and ceremonial home of the nation. The king resides at his own royal village or kraal called lilawu. The present umphakatsi is at Ludzidzini Royal Kraal and lilawu is at Ngabezweni Royal Kraal.

List of tiNdlovukati

Related Research Articles

Politics of Eswatini

Eswatini is an absolute monarchy with constitutional provisions and Swazi law and Custom. The head of state is the king or Ngwenyama, currently King Mswati III, who ascended to the throne in 1986 after the death of his father King Sobhuza II in 1982 and a period of regency. According to the constitution of Eswatini, the king and Ingwenyama is a symbol of unity and the eternity of the Swazi nation. By tradition, the king reigns along with his mother or a ritual substitute, the Ndlovukati. The former was viewed as the administrative head of state and the latter as a spiritual and national head of state, with real power counterbalancing that of the king, but during the long reign of Sobhuza II the role of the Ndlovukati became more symbolic. The king appoints the prime minister from the legislature and also appoints a minority of legislators to both chambers of Libandla (parliament), with help from an advisory council. The king is allowed by the constitution to appoint some members to parliament for special interests. These special interests are citizens who might have been left out by the electorate during the course of elections or did not enter as candidates. This is done to balance views in parliament. Special interests could be people of gender, race, disability, business community, civic society, scholars, chiefs and so on. The Senate consists of 30 members, of which some are appointed by the king on recommendation of the advisory council and others elected by the lower house. The House of Assembly has 65 seats, 55 of which are occupied by elected representatives from the 55 constituencies around the country, 10 appointed by the king on recommendation of the advisory council and the attorney general is the ex-officio member. Elections are held every five years.

History of Eswatini Aspect of history

Artifacts indicating human activity dating back to the early Stone Age have been found in the Kingdom of Eswatini. Prehistoric rock art paintings date from c. 25,000 B.C. and continuing up to the 19th century can be found in various places around the country. The earliest known inhabitants of the region were Khoisan hunter-gatherers. Later, the population became predominantly Nguni during and after the great Bantu migrations. People speaking languages ancestral to the current Sotho and Nguni languages began settling no later than the 11th century. The country now derives its name from a later king named Mswati II. Ngwane, named for Ngwane III, is an alternative name for Swaziland the surname of whose royal house remains Nkhosi Dlamini. Nkhosi literally means "king". Mswati II was the greatest of the fighting kings of Eswatini, and he greatly extended the area of the country to twice its current size. The people of Eswatini largely belong to a number of clans that can be categorized as Emakhandzambili, Bemdzabu, and Emafikamuva, depending on when and how they settled in Eswatini.

Mswati III King of Eswatini

Mswati III is the king of Eswatini and head of the Swazi Royal Family. He was born in Manzini in the Protectorate of Swaziland to King Sobhuza II and one of his younger wives, Ntfombi Tfwala. He was crowned as Mswati III, Ingwenyama and King of Swaziland, on 25 April 1986 at the age of 18, thus becoming the youngest ruling monarch in the world at that time. Together with his mother, Ntfombi Tfwala, now Queen Mother (Ndlovukati), he rules the country as an absolute monarch. Mswati III is known for his practice of polygyny and currently has 15 wives. Mswati III was also secretly funded and supported by the government of apartheid-era South Africa.

Swazi people

The Swati are a Bantu ethnic group in Southern Africa, predominantly inhabiting Eswatini, South Africa's Mpumalanga province, and Mozambique. EmaSwati are part of the Nguni-language speaking peoples whose origins can be traced through archaeology to East Africa where similar traditions, beliefs and cultural practices are found.

Sobhuza II King of Swaziland

Sobhuza II, KBE was the Paramount Chief and later Ngwenyama of Swaziland for 82 years and 254 days, the longest verifiable reign of any monarch in recorded history. Sobhuza was born on 22 July 1899 at Zombodze Royal Residence, the son of Inkhosikati Lomawa Ndwandwe and King Ngwane V. When he was only four months old, his father died suddenly while dancing incwala. Sobhuza was chosen king soon after that and his grandmother Labotsibeni and his uncle Prince Malunge led the Swazi nation until his maturity in 1921. Sobhuza led Swaziland through independence until his death in 1982. He was succeeded by Mswati III, his young son with Inkhosikati Ntfombi Tfwala, who was crowned in 1986.

Ngwane V was the King of Swaziland from 1895 until his death on 10 December 1899. Ngwane was born the son of Mbandzeni and his mother was Labotsibeni Mdluli. He ascended to the throne after a short regency of Queen Mother Tibati Nkambule. He was only 16 years old when he became king. His royal capital was at Zombodze while the Queen Mother's residence was at Lobamba. Ngwane became the king after the Swaziland convention of 1894. This had led to the classification of Swaziland as a protected state of the South African Republic which was then led by President Paul Kruger. During this time Swaziland had a partial Dutch administration in parallel to Ngwane's administration. The Dutch or European for European interests and Ngwane as head and authority of the Swazi nation. An annual payment was made to Ngwane and Labotsibeni while they were in office from taxes collected and from contributions from concessionaires and taxes. Ngwane's rule was short. In 1899 the Anglo-Boer war began, and brought to an end the Dutch or Boer partial administration of Swaziland and hence gave way to independence. However Mahlokohla died on 10 December of that year while dancing incwala. This was hid from the nation until the ceremony was over. Ngwane was succeeded by his four-month-old son Nkhotfotjeni and his wife Lomawa Ndwandwe. His mother Labotsibeni who had been very influential during his reign continued as queen regent until Sobhuza was crowned in 1921. Ngwane's reign gave way to a stable territory surrounded by conflicting states. Today Mahlokohla is named for one of the main streets, Mahlokohla Street in Swaziland's capital Mbabane.

Mswati II, also known as Mswati and Mavuso II, was the king of Eswatini between 1840 and 1865. He was also the eponym of Eswatini. Mswati is considered to be one of the greatest fighting kings of Eswatini. Under his kingship, the territorial boundaries of Eswatini were greatly increased. Mswati was the son of Sobhuza I and Tsandzile Ndwandwe who after ruling as Queen Mother became Queen Regent after the death of her son. After the death of Sobhuza, Mswati inherited an area which extended as far as present day Barberton in the north and included the Nomahasha district in the Portuguese territory of Mozambique. Mswati's military power, initially suppressed by infighting with his brothers Fokoti, Somcuba and Malambule, was increased in the late 1850s and thereafter. When Mswati's armies attacked organized forces of other Bantu tribes or nations, the goal was initially plunder in the form of cattle and captives, rather than incorporation into one political unit. During this period the arrival of Trekboers, in what would become the Transvaal republic, marked the first contact between Swazis and European settlers. Mswati greatly extended the boundaries of the Swazi territory beyond that of the present state with military outposts and royal villages outposts such as Mbhuleni, on the upper Komati River at the foot of the Mkongomo Mountains, south of Badplaas, Mekemeke which is east of the Mbayiyane Mountains, situated east of Mantibovu. The death of Mswati II in August 1865 ended the era of Swazi conquest, territorial expansion and resulted in unification of various people into one nation.

Labotsibeni Mdluli, also known as Gwamile, was the Queen Mother and Queen Regent of Swaziland.

Ntfombi of Eswatini Ndlovukati of Eswatini

Queen Ntfombi, The Queen Mother, Ndlovukati of Eswatini is the current Ndlovukati and joint head of state of Eswatini, serving since 1986. She was also regent of Eswatini from 1983 to 1986. She is the mother of King Mswati III.

Sobhuza I was king of Eswatini, from 1815 to 1836. Born around 1780, his father was Ndvungunye, and his mother was Somnjalose Simelane. He was called Somhlolo, "the Wonder," upon his birth because his father Ndvungunye died as a result of being struck by lightning. When Sobhuza was king, Lojiba Simelane instead of his mother Somnjalose was Queen Mother because Somnjalose was an inhlanti or support bride to Lojiba. Somhlolo is a greatly revered king of Eswatini. He had his first royal capital or kraal at Zombodze in the Shiselweni region, but moved it north to new Zombodze in central Eswatini. Swazis celebrate Somhlolo Day every September 6 as their Independence Day and the national stadium is named Somhlolo stadium. Sobhuza was succeeded by his son Mswati II and his wife Tsandzile Ndwandwe as Queen Mother after a short regency by Queen Lojiba Simelane. Sobhuza by the time of his death had conquered a country claimed to reach to modern day Barberton in the north, Carolina in the west, Pongola River in the south and Lubombo Mountains in the east.

Mbandzeni (1855–1889) was the King of Swaziland from 1875 until 1889. Ingwenyama Mbandzeni was the son of Mswati II and Nandzi Nkambule. His mother the wife of King Mswati had died when he was still very young. Mbandzeni ascended to the throne after his half brother Ludvonga II died before he could become the king. Ludvonga's death resulted in his mother Inkhosikati Lamgangeni adopting Mbandzeni who was motherless as her son, thus making him King and her the Queen mother of Swaziland. His royal capital was at Mbekelweni. During his kingship Mbandzeni granted many mining, farming, trading and administrative concessions to white settlers from Britain and the Transvaal. The Boers had tricked the king into signing permanent land concesions. The king could not read or write, so the Boers made him sign the concessions with a cross. The king was told that these were permanent land concessions but the papers themselves statd otherwise. These concessions granted with the help of Offy Sherpstone eventually led to the conventions of 1884 and 1894, which reduced the overall borders of Swaziland and later made Swaziland a protectorate of the South African Republic. During a period of concessions preceded by famine around 1877 some of the tindvunas (governors) from within Swaziland like Mshiza Maseko and Ntengu kaGama Mbokane were given permission by King Mbandzeni to relocate to farms towards the Komati River, Mshiza Maseko later settled in a place called eLuvalweni, where he was later buried. Mbandzeni, still in command of a large Swazi army of more than 15,000 men aided the British in defeating Sekhukhune in 1879 and preventing Zulu incursion into the Transvaal during the same year. As a result, he guaranteed his country's independence and international recognition despite the Scramble for Africa which was taking place at the time. Mbandzeni died after an illness in 1889 and is quoted to have said in his deathbed "the Swazi kingship dies with me". He was buried at the royal cemetery at Mbilaneni alongside his father and grandfather Sobhuza I. Mbandzeni was succeeded by his young son Mahlokohla and his wife Queen Labotsibeni Mdluli after a 5 year regency of Queen Tibati Nkambule. Today a number of buildings and roads in Swaziland are named after Mbandzeni. Among these the Mbandzeni house in Mbabane and the Mbandzeni Highway to Siteki are named after him.

House of Dlamini

The House of Dlamini is the royal house of the Kingdom of Eswatini. Mswati III, as king and Ngwenyama of Eswatini, is the current head of the house of Dlamini. Swazi kings up to the present day are referred to as Ingwenyama and they rule together with the Queen Mother who is called Indlovukati. The Swazi kings, like other Nguni nations, practice polygamy and thus have many wives and children.

Ngwenyama Title of the male king of Eswatini

Ngwenyama is the title of the male ruler (King) of Eswatini. The Ngwenyama is the counterpart of the Ndlovukati. The Ndlovukati at certain times may serve as a Regent. The Ndlovukati is usually the Ngwenyama's mother.

Articles related to Eswatini include:

Tsandzile Ndwandwe, also known as LaZidze, was an Ndlovukati or senior queen of Swaziland from July 1868 until June 1875.

Prince Sozisa Dlamini of Swaziland was Chief of Gundvwini. He became the Authorized Person of Swaziland from 1982 to 1985 after the death of King Sobhuza II, and in 1983 was briefly the acting Regent of the country, after he deposed Queen Dzeliwe. From 1983 he was Authorized Person to the new Queen Regent, Ntombi, with greater powers. Although lacking the title, he was for most purposes the de facto ruler of the country. He fell from power in July 1984, after being accused of planning a coup, and was suspended as Authorized Person until Queen Ntombi terminated his appointment on 1 November 1985.

Lojiba Simelane was the queen regent and Indlovukati of Swaziland from 1836 after the death of Sobhuza I until 1840 when King Mswati II became the king.

Ndvungunye was King of Swaziland from 1780 until his death in 1815 after succeeding his father, King Ngwane III following a very brief regency of Indlovukati LaYaka Ndwandwe. Very little has been recorded of the quality of leadership under his reign. Ndvungunye built his residence or Sigodlo near Mhlosheni on feet of the eMhlosheni hills in NShiselweni, the south east of modern Swaziland near Zombodze, where his father Ngwane had settled during his reign. His rule thus indicated a period of limited expansion and consolidation which is overshadowed by that of his son King Sobhuza I. The NShiselweni settlements established under his reign which he placed under the guardianship of his chief Sukumbili Mbokane would not however provide a solid foundation for the future Swazi state as indicated by attacks after his death on Sobhuza by Ndwandwe chiefs. Ndvungunye died around 1815 after being struck by lightning. Ndvungunye was married to Lojiba Simelane and Somnjalose Simelane. It was with the latter that he had his son Sobhuza I. Lojiba however became Queen mother as she was a senior sister to Somnjalose. Sobhuza I became the king in 1815 after the regency of Queen Lomvula Mndzebele.

laNgolotsheni (Lomawa) Ndwandwe was the Ndlovukati of Swaziland, the wife of King Ngwane V, and the mother of King Sobhuza II.


  1. Kuper, Hilda (1985). The Swazi, a South African Kingdom. Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology (2nd ed.). Holt Rinehart & Winston. ISBN   0030702399.