After more than a year of internal quarrels within the royal familyMisuzulu Sinqobile ka Zwelithini was crowned king of the Zulu, the ethnic group that lives mostly in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in eastern South Africa.
On Saturday, August 20, thousands of people gathered to attend the traditional coronation ceremony at KwaKhangelamankengane Palace in Nongoma. Misuzulu, who wore the skin of a lion who – as tradition dictates – had specially hunted and killed a few days earlier (amidst criticism from animal rights activists), he entered an enclosure deemed sacred to invoke his ancestors and was then declared the new king of the Zulu.
Next month he will be a guest of the South African government for a state ceremony.
Misuzulu, 47, is the son of the previous king Goodwill Zwelithini, who died last year. Many members of the royal family, however, did not think it right that he inherited the title of king from his father, indeed: for more than a year different factions of the family have contended for the right to appoint the successor to the throne amid public accusations, insults and even court cases. .
Thirteen members of the royal family had claimed that Zwelithini’s signature on his will – which indicated Misuzulu’s mother and in fact Misuzulu himself as heir to the throne – had been forged, taking the case to court: they had lost. He had sued against the coronation of Misuzulu also his uncle Mbonisi (brother of Zwelithini), arguing that he was not suitable to fill this role due to his lifestyle and some scandals in which he had been involved.
Last March, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa he recognized officially Misuzulu as king of the Zulus. At the end of July, a judge had rejected Mbonisi’s case. The legal battle, however, continued until the last possible moment: a few hours before the coronation, a sister and a brother of Misuzulu filed an urgent motion with the court of Pietermaritzburg asking to suspend the ceremony. The appeal was rejected.
With around 14 million members, the Zulus are the ethnic group largest and most influential in South Africa. In practice, their king has no formal political power. However, he is the moral leader of a kingdom more or less the size of Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta put together and has a budget of the equivalent of about 3.9 million euros that the South African government allocates to his family every year. real. Given his great influence, he is very envied by the kings of the other ethnic groups of South Africa and very respected by the country’s politicians, who always pay him a lot of attention, especially during elections.