March 30, 2023

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South Africa: Crowds celebrate the coronation of the Zulu king

#In other countries : He appeared in a spectacular robe of black feathers: A powerful customary ruler crowned the new king of the Zulu people despite fierce clan warfare in the palace, ascended the throne in South Africa on Saturday before a large crowd.

In the young democracy, which has 11 official languages, sovereignty and traditional leaders are recognized by the constitution. Kings with no executive power possessed great moral authority and were deeply respected by their subjects.

Mizusulu Sulu, 47, killed the lion days before the ceremony, succeeding his father Goodwill Zwelithini, who died last year after a 50-year reign.

He then spent a night in the “cattle tank” of Kwahangelamankengane Palace in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal province (KZN, South East) and the cradle of the Zulu nation.

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A kind of temple for the “sky people”, only a few men know the secrets of this enclosure and the rituals that take place there. The king of Jules was to come out on Saturday, dubbed and crowned by the ancestors.

Waiting to see him appear, thousands of “Amabutho” warriors dressed in animal skins danced around the small marble palace, under the scorching sun, and danced to battle.

“This is the big day when our king officially ascends the throne,” Themba Fakazi, 59, who is part of the regiment of warriors tasked with guarding the king, told AFP.

– King Poets –

The king’s poets strolled through the crowd and told legends of warriors. The country’s 11 million Zulus, nearly one in five South Africans, are descendants of Chaka, a charismatic leader and military genius who made history by winning a bloody war against the British Empire.

The women wore their most beautiful traditional dresses decorated with colored beads. Others wore cloths bearing the image of the sovereign inscribed with the words “Beide”, “Hail the King” in Zulu.

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Hundreds of young women danced topless. Taking turns stepping into the circle, they lifted their legs up and stamped their soles on the dusty floor.

Dozens of cows were slaughtered to serve the guests. Representatives of traditional kings from neighboring countries came with gifts.

“The Zulu nation today enters a new chapter. I pledge to work to bring it together,” Mizusulu Zulu said as he appeared before the crowd.

For more than a year, the palace has been poisoned by succession issues. The late king’s first wife and her clan are contesting the legitimacy of Misuzulu Zulu, the king’s favorite and born to his third wife. A last-minute appeal to block the coronation failed on Saturday.

The king, whose name means “strengthening the Zulu people”, already has two wives and four children.

“He ensures stability and order among his people,” said 31-year-old Ntokozo Malzadini, who works in a logistics company.

As the guarantor of social peace in his kingdom, Jules Raja enjoys the support of the state.

Known for leading a lavish lifestyle, King Svelitini received about 75,000 euros a year for his personal use and a budget of 4.2 million euros for the kingdom’s operations, according to government figures.

The Zulu sovereign enjoys nearly 30,000 km2 of land – roughly the size of Belgium – managed by a trust, of which he is the sole administrator and which he can rent out.

After the traditional ceremony, the new sovereign must be formally recognized by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in the coming months.

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