The Zulu royal family has announced “with deepest shock and distress” the sudden death of its queen weeks after she was named interim leader of South Africa’s largest ethnic group of about 12 million people. The unexpected loss of Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, 65, has thrown the nation into flux only a month after the death of her husband, Goodwill Zwelithini, who ruled for almost 50 years.
Thousands of people are being evacuated from Table Mountain in Cape Town where winds are continuing to fan forest fires towards neighborhoods. Around 250 firefighters are trying to control the blaze as thick smoke obscures visibility throughout the city center. Reports said up to 50,000 people were being moved to safety as helicopters continued to drop water on threatened areas.
King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulu nation in South Africa has died in hospital where he was being treated for diabetes-related issues. The king, 72, was the leader of South Africa’s largest ethnic group and an influential traditional ruler. Throughout his 50 year-reign he was a strong advocate for preserving cultural identity. South Africa’s president has described him as a “much-loved visionary”.
South Africa halted Monday’s planned rollout of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccinations after data showed it gave minimal protection against mild infection from one variant, stoking fears of a much longer cat-and-mouse battle with the pathogen. Researchers from the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Oxford said in a prior-to-peer analysis that the AstraZeneca vaccine provided minimal protection against mild or moderate infection from the South African variant among young people.
South Africa’s COVID-19 spike has taken the country to more than 1 million confirmed cases on Sunday and President Cyril Ramaphosa called an emergency meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council. The country’s new variant of the coronavirus, 501.V2, is more contagious and has quickly become dominant in many areas of the resurgence, according to experts.
South Africa has temporarily closed its embassy in Nigeria following violence against South African businesses in reprisal for attacks on foreign-owned stores in Johannesburg, while Nigeria has announced plans to evacuate its nationals from South Africa. The announcement, which signals worsening diplomatic relations between the two African countries, comes after Nigeria introduced plans to evacuate its nationals from South Africa following a wave of attacks on foreigners, including Nigerians.
More than 60 people have been killed in southern and eastern parts of South Africa after heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides. Rescue workers were digging through collapsed homes and other buildings in coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal province, local officials said. The region has been hit by heavy rains for days, but authorities did not anticipate the extent of the downpour late on Monday, said Lennox Mabaso, a spokesman for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department.
After a formal request from the African National Congress party, South African President Jacob Zuma delivered an address to the nation, agreeing to resign from his position, Wednesday night, ending a period of scandal and mismanagement which threatened the undermining of Nelson Mandela’s liberation movement. Cyril Ramaphosa is now the country’s acting leader.
South Africa will immediately re-enforce a ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol to reduce the volume of trauma patients so hospitals have more beds open to treat COVID-19 patients, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said. Confronted by surging hospitalizations because of the coronavirus outbreak, South Africa also reinstated a nighttime curfew to reduce traffic accidents and made it mandatory for all residents to wear face masks when in public.
A two-year-old boy has been killed by a leopard in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. The leopard managed to access a fenced off area of the park and grab the boy, who was the son of an employee. The park said in a statement that such attacks were “very rare”, but rangers killed the leopard to “remove the danger”.