A local South African queen, who died of coronavirus earlier this week, will be giving a special state funeral, news reports said.

Queen Noloyiso Sandile, the queen regent of the AmaRharhabe nation in the Eastern Cape, died on Wednesday at the age of 56, after succumbing to Covid-19. Queen Noloyiso is the sister of current Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.

In her honor, the South African government has announced that all flags in the country will fly at half-mast till Sunday evening.

Queen is dead
Queen Noloyiso Sandile, a reigning queen of the AmaRharhabe nation in the Eastern Cape, died on Wednesday at the age of 56, of Covid-19. @MbuyiseniNdlozi

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa while announcing the death of AmaRharhabe Queen Noloyiso Sandile, the sister of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, said plans are being made to offer a special official funeral for the queen.

President Ramaphosa in his official address described the late Queen Noloyiso as an inspiring and principled leader.

Queen Noloyiso was made the Queen Regent after the passing of her husband King Maxhobha Sandile in 2011 - a position she was to hold until her son, Jonguxolo Sandile, came of age.

Her funeral will be held at the Mngqesha Great Place, King William's Town on Sunday.

Zulu royal family spokesperson and Late Queen Sandile's brother, Mbonisi kaBhekuzulu said that Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini was heartbroken that he could not save the life of his sister, reported The Citizen.

Queen Sandile, who died in Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in East London was born Nomusa Zulu in Kwa Nongoma to the late Zulu monarch, Cyprian Bhekuzulu ka Solomon.

South Africa's progressive post-apartheid constitution still recognizes traditional leaders as tradition is considered highly sacred by many South Africans. The customary laws are also recognized under the country's constitution, especially in the rural areas where these leaders and royal families play a key role in mediating local disputes.

The government also provides traditional leaders with financial support. The country has 10 kings and a queen that is the late Queen Sandile.

Coronavirus in South Africa

With 250,687 and 3,860 deaths South Africa has the highest number of COVID-19 infections in Africa, three months since its first reported case. In this week alone, several high profile coronavirus cases have been reported in the country.

Gordon Kegakilwe, a provincial member of the Executive Council responsible for cooperative governance, human settlement, and traditional affairs in the North West government died due to COVID-19 on Monday.

A high-ranking spokesman of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), Ricardo Mthembu died on Wednesday after contracting coronavirus on Wednesday.

According to Anadolu Agency, several heads of government in the Western Cape Province and the North West also have contracted COVID-19.