The 12th wife of Swaziland's autocratic king, who allegedly had an affair with his justice minister, has been thrown out of the royal palace without her children.
Inkhosikati LaDube, 23, who married King Mswati III at the age of 16, says she has been kept under virtual house arrest in her official residence since she and Ndumiso Mamba were caught in a hotel in Mbabane, the capital, last year.
She told a South African newspaper that after more than a year in captivity, she was ordered "immediately to leave the palace" on November 12.
It followed a row with a security guard who blocked her from taking the youngest of her three children, a two-year-old boy, to hospital after he injured himself while playing, she said.
"He threatened to hit me, saying I am not going anywhere with my child, who was bleeding from a deep wound," she said.
An altercation ensued, she told South Africa's Sunday Times, and she was "physically prevented" from leaving the palace. "I had to protect myself, so I pepper-sprayed him in the eyes," she said.
The matter was reported to the Queen Mother, who shares power with her son and is known as the Indlovukazi, or Great She-Elephant. She is said to have decided that LaDube had been disrespectful and should be evicted from the royal household.
LaDube said she was forced to leave behind her children and her belongings.
The King, who is 43 and has 23 children by 13 wives, is on his annual period of seclusion. He has not seen LaDube for a year and, she alleges, knows almost nothing about the couple's children.
Swaziland Solidarity Network, a South Africa-based umbrella organisation of pro-democracy organisations, lambasted the king for his wife's "brutal eviction".
"The ill-treatment that LaDube has endured and the subsequent separation from her children is a very inhumane act," Lucky Lukhele, a spokesman, said. He said the king had "never forgiven" LaDube for embarrassing him with her alleged affair.
"Mswati has never again set foot in her house after the scandal. He further instructed her bodyguards to deliberately frustrate her to the point where she could no longer take it and then hopefully leave," he said. He added that without their mother, LaDube's children were at risk of being "terribly neglected" in the royal household.