South Africa: Huge crowd celebrate new Zulu king

In the Southern African country, the traditional rulers and leaders are recognized by the Constitution. Kings without executive power, they exercise profound moral authority and are respected by their people.

Misuzulu Zulu, 47, also called Misuzulu kaZwelithini and whose name means “strengthen the Zulu people“, He succeeds his father Goodwill Zwelithini, who died last year after 50 years of reign. He has two wives and at least four children.

Since the morning, warriors “loves Butho“, Arranged in imposing columns bristling with assigai and shields, they crowded into the graceful marble palace of KwaKhangelamankengane, in Nongoma, a town in the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN, south-east) and cradle of the Zulu Nation.

It’s a great day, we’re making history“Bongani Khumalo, 80, who is part of the regiments of warriors charged with protecting the king, told AFP.

Under a scorching sun, they danced and mimed war for hours, wearing animal skins, waiting for the king to appear. South Africa has 11 million Zulus, nearly one in five South Africans, the largest ethnic group in the country.

Women arrived in traditional dresses, pleated skirts and beaded belts for some. Others draped themselves with fabrics bearing the effigy of the sovereign with the inscription “bayede“,”greet the king”In the Zulu language.

– Legendary people –

Girls dance topless. Each in turn enters the circle to the rhythm of celebratory songs, raises their legs high before making the soles of their feet ring in the dust.

The king’s poets stroll through the crowd, recounting the legend of the warlike people and the qualities of the new ruler.

The traditional coronation took place last night, in the utmost secrecy. Shortly after midnight, the sovereign entered “the cattle pen“Of the palace, a sort of temple of the Zulu Nation where men, in a small circle, communicate with their ancestors. Only a handful of people know what happened there.

Today the King will be recognized by the entire Zulu nation“, He hammered his sister, Princess Ntandoyesizwe Zulu, 46, at AFP, pretending to ignore the dispute that has poisoned the palace for more than a year.

The late king’s first wife and her clan contest the legitimacy of Misuzulu Zulu, born to the king’s favorite and third wife. A last-minute appeal on Saturday to try to prevent the coronation failed.

Suddenly, with a rustle, the ruler finally appears: dressed in a spectacular black feather costume tied at the waist by a belt, a spear and a shield in his hand, Misuzulu Zulu joins the warriors. In haunting songs sung softly, they promise him protection and loyalty.

We have our king!“Sinenhlanhla Msweli, 29, said in the crowd.

Later, the ruler said before his gathered people: “The Zulu Nation begins a new chapter today. I promise to work to unite it“.

The king, who will have to be formally recognized by President Cyril Ramaphosa during a ceremony in the coming months, inherits the throne but also the land. It has almost 30,000 km2, roughly the size of Belgium, managed by a trust of which he is the sole administrator.

Known for leading a lavish lifestyle, his father also received around € 75,000 per year from the state for personal use and a budget of € 4.2 million per year for the functioning of the kingdom, according to a government scale.

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