By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network
NEW YORK (IDN) — In the traditional ceremonies of the Zulu people, Misuzulu Zulu, 47, was crowned the new king of the country’s richest and most influential traditional monarchy.
Thousands of people gathered at the Zulu royal palace in South Africa to witness the ceremony.
Misuzulu Zulu ascended to the throne once held by his late father, Goodwill Zwelithini. The ceremonies were partially overshadowed by a bitter succession dispute.
Attired in a traditional leopard skin and a necklace of predator claws, the new leader promised to unite the Zulu nation.
Although the title of king does not bestow executive power, the monarchs wield great moral influence over more than 11 million Zulus, who make up nearly a fifth of South Africa’s population.
Earlier, Misuzulu had entered the palace’s “cattle kraal” where he took part in a secret rite designed to present the new monarch to his ancestors.
Royal minstrels sang the praises of the new king and told the story of his legendary ancestors.
Suddenly, the king emerged before the crowd dressed in black feathers cinched at the waist by a belt, a spear and holding a shield. He joined a line of warriors who swore loyalty to their new leader.
Zulu kings are descendants of King Shaka, the 19th-century leader who united the Zulu nation and led bloody battles against the British colonizers.
Since the death of King Zwelithini and his third wife, legal challenges cropped up backing one or another of the king’s six wives and 28 children.
An effort to stop all rituals was denied by a Pietermaritzburg court.
The next Zulu monarch will inherit a fortune – including millions from the government and 74 million acres of land.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, who in March recognized Misuzulu as the rightful king, is to formally certify the crowning at a ceremony in the coming months. [IDN-InDepthNews – 22 August 2022]
Photo: King of Amazulu nation Misuzulu kaZwelithini (centre) pictured during his coronation at the royal palace in Kwa-Nongoma, some 300 km north of Durban, on August 20, 2022. © Phill Magakoe, AFP
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