President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the late Queen Noloyiso as “a bastion of traditional values and an inspiring and principled leader of her people” following the death of the prominent traditional ruler due to suspected coronavirus-related causes.Queen Noloyiso, 56, passed away on Wednesday following a short illness believed to have been caused by suspected COVID-19 complications, according to media reports monitored here.
She was widow of the late King Maxhobha Sandile of the amaRharhabe in Eastern Cape Province.
“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,” Ramaphosa said in a condolence message.
According to the presidency, the amaRharhabe has been an independent sovereign kingship since the 18th century.
Its status was affirmed by a 2016 North Gauteng High Court judgment, overturning an earlier decision that had stripped it of its royal status.
According to Ramaphosa, the amaRharbabe had under the leadership of Queen Noloyiso proudly held on to their history, traditions and identity despite the changes around them.
He praised the late queen as a champion of rural women who challenged patriarchy in her community and gave a voice to its female constituents.
The queen’s death comes as South Africa has recorded 224,665 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 3,600 deaths.