South Africa’s Zulu to crown a new king as succession dispute heats up

South Africa’s largest ethnic group, the Zulu, will crown a new king on Saturday after a year of wrangling over who should ascend the throne of the country’s most influential traditional monarchy. Misuzulu Zulu, 47, will succeed her father, Goodwill Zwelithini, who died in March last year after 50 years in the role. Although the title of king does not confer executive power, the Zulu monarchs wield great moral influence over more than 11 million Zulu, who make up nearly a fifth of South Africa’s population. On Saturday, Misuzulu will enter the “cattle craal” at the royal Zulu residence or KwaKhethomthandayo in Nongoma, a small town in the southeastern central province of the KwaZulu-Natal ethnic group. There he will participate in a secret rite designed to introduce the new monarch to his legendary ancestors. A woman wears a cloth reflecting the face of the new king, Prince Misuzulu KaZwelithini, as Amabutho (Zulu regiments) sing slogans in his praise on August 19, 2022 at the KwaKhangelamankengane Royal Palace in Kwa-Nongoma, 300 km north. of Durban, before the official coronation on August 20, 2022. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP) Later, he will be presented to his people, who will pledge to “accept the king as their king,” said Gugulethu Mazibuko, an expert on African cultures at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Only select members of the royal family and Zulu warriors, known as amaButhos, are allowed to witness the kraal rite up close, but large crowds are expected to gather at the royal palace to celebrate the event. In Zulu ceremonies, bare-breasted women with elaborate necklaces, belts and headbands usually sing and dance, while men dressed in animal skins and holding shields and spears perform war dances in homage to the militaristic past. of the Zulu. Inside the palace grounds on Friday, the eve of the coronation, preparations were underway. The men erected tents, while others slaughtered cows to serve to guests. It was also confirmed that the future king had killed a lion in a nearby reserve, the last step before his coronation. Siphiwe Joshua Mbatha, 82, was chatting with other villagers outside the palace. “Having a new king is history for us, it’s a blessing,” said the man with a white beard and a trench coat, who says he was the driver of the new king’s grandfather. “It doesn’t happen once in a while. The last time was more than 50 years ago.” Mbatha said he was unfazed by the family feud before the coronation. “It’s part of the process, the ordination of a new king is always a struggle,” he said. Royal feud The Zulu kings are descendants of King Shaka, the 19th century leader still revered for uniting a large part of the country as the Zulu nation, who fought bloody battles against the British colonizers. The first name of the new monarch means “strengthening of the Zulu”. However, his path to the crown has been the subject of a bitter family feud. King Zwelithini left behind six wives and at least 28 children when he died last year at the age of 72 after a battle with diabetes-related illness. Misuzulu is the first son of Zwelithini’s third wife, Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini, whom the late monarch named regent in his will after his death. But the queen died suddenly a month later at the age of 68, sparking rumors that she had been poisoned. He left a will designating Misuzulu to ascend the throne, a development that was not welcomed by other branches of the family. After a failed legal attempt to challenge the succession, Prince Simakade Zulu, son of the late king’s first wife, surrounded by a small group of people, underwent the cattle kraal rite last weekend, in a last desperate move to thwart Misuzulu’s coronation. And at a somber news conference in Johannesburg on Thursday, some of the late king’s brothers disowned both heirs and proposed the third prince as their candidate for the throne. This “unprecedented” royal feud has made the Zulu kingdom a “laughing stock”, Zulu monarchy spokesman Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who has been advocating Misuzulu’s coronation, said at a news conference at the palace on Friday. . President Cyril Ramaphosa recognized Misuzulu as the rightful king in March. Land and riches – The next Zulu monarch will inherit a fortune and tap into a rich vein of income. Zwelithini enjoyed the trappings of his royal status, receiving some 71 million rand ($4.2 million) a year from the government to manage royal affairs and finance a lavish lifestyle. He owned several palaces and other estates, with a royal trust managing nearly three million hectares (7.4 million acres) of land, an area the size of Belgium. In return, the king serves as the guarantor of social peace, said Sihawukele Ngubane, a specialist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. “He looks after the welfare of his subjects,” he said, explaining that the royals are in charge of community development and infrastructure on land managed by the trust. After the rituals on Saturday, the coronation process will be completed in another ceremony presided over by Ramaphosa that will take place in the coming months. Read More Related World News Here | Africa News Today What do you think about this; South Africa’s Zulu to crown a new king as succession dispute heats up | Newslodge Nigeria News   Let’s hear your opinion in the comment below!