The new Zulu king will be crowned on Saturday after a long dispute over the succession to the throne. Favorite son of King Goodwill Zwelithini, who died in 2021 after a reign of fifty years, Msuzulu is disputed by the Zulu first wife and their descendants.
Around the small marble palace perched on the hills, the movement is intense: the Zulu people crowned their new king on Saturday August 20, the most powerful traditional sovereign in South Africa, despite a dispute over the throne which lasted more long as “A”. Lives. year.
In one southern African country, sovereign and traditional chiefs are recognized by the constitution. Kings without executive power, they exercise moral authority and are deeply respected by their people.
In the morning, a colorful crowd of several thousand people had already gathered for a celebration in honor of 47-year-old Misuzulu Zulu, now also known as Misuzulu Kazwelithini, after his father, whose last year marked the end of fifty years of reign. Later he died.
Troops of “Amabutho” warriors stormed the palace, creating impressive columns with shields of agaves and animal skins. These protectors of the king must promise fidelity and respect to the new sovereign.
The women wore traditional outfits, pleated skirts and beaded belts for some. Others are draped in clothes bearing the effigy of the sovereign with the inscription “Bayde”, “Hail to the King” in the Zulu language.
The young women dance bare-chested. At each turn, they step into the circle to the rhythm of festive chants, raising their feet high and clattering their soles in the dust.
The country’s 11 million Zulus, nearly one in five South Africans, collectively responded to an invitation to celebrate their culture. “Today the king will be recognized by the whole Zulu nation,” his sister, Princess Ntandoysizwe Zulu, 46, told AFP as she left Kwakhangelmankengene Palace in Nongoma, a small town in the province. , prepared and a little feverish. -Natal, in the southeast of the country.
a controversial king
Just after midnight, the sovereign entered the “cattle enclosure”, a sort of temple of the Zulu nation where the men, in a restricted circle, communed with the ancestors. Protected by a fence lined with tree trunks, the symbolic enclosure was closed to the public on Saturday morning. “It’s a holy place, we can’t tell the world what’s going on there,” said Muntomuhle Macambi, 34, one of the “amabutho”.
During the week, the king killed a lion in a nearby reserve, the funeral pyre before the coronation. Tradition was respected, without allaying disputes within the palace itself.
The late King Goodwill Jwelithini left behind six wives and at least 28 children. The first wife claims to be the only legitimate wife and asks the courts to decide. On Saturday, his clan announced that it had filed an urgent appeal to stop the coronation.
“Those who are Zulu and know the traditions know who the king is,” reprimanded Themba Fakazi, adviser to the former leader and supporter of Msuzulu Zulu. Other voices rose in the castle to end the fight which made the “people of the sky” laugh, some say.
Misuzulu Zulu is the son of his father’s third wife and favorite. He himself has two wives, including one from Eswatini, and at least four children.
The property he inherited is also at the center of the dispute. Zulu King is about 30,000 km away. love2 The land, roughly the size of Belgium, is managed by a trust of which he is the sole administrator. He draws a comfortable income from it, in particular by collecting rents.
Known for leading a lavish life, King Zwelithini receives a budget of around 75,000 euros a year from the state for his personal use and 7.1 million rand (4.2 million euros) for business affairs. state according to the government scale. . ,
The king has yet to be formally recognized by President Cyril Ramaphosa, with a ceremony to be held in the coming months.