Meet The New King

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Tens of thousands of people attended the coronation of South Africa’s Zulu king over the weekend, the first crowning of a monarch in more than five decades, Agence France-Presse reported.

The celebrations took place at a football stadium in Durban, which saw the new ruler, Misuzulu kaZwelithini, ascend the throne once held by his father, Goodwill Zwelithini, who died in March 2021.

President Cyril Ramaphosa formally recognized the 48-year-old ruler. Also attending the ceremony was King Mswati III of Eswatini – Africa’s only absolute monarchy – who is the new Zulu king’s uncle.

The previous king, Zwelithini, ruled for more than 50 years and left six wives and at least 28 children. In his will, he designated his third wife – Misuzulu’s mother – as his regent.

The queen, however, died a month after the king and left a will naming her son as the next ruler – a development challenged by other family members, who fought the succession in the courts.

Although the title of king does not provide any executive power, the new monarch will hold great moral influence over more than 11 million Zulus, who make up nearly a fifth of South Africa’s population.

Zulu kings are descended from Shaka, a 19th-century leader who is still respected for uniting a wide swathe of the country into the Zulu nation, which fought deadly conflicts against British colonialists.

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