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IN PICS | Ramaphosa recognises new Zulu king in colourful ceremony

Ceremony brings succession wrangle to an end

Zulu King coronation Misuzulu Zulu, with president Ramaphosa, Swati king, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma amongst those who attended the event.
Zulu King coronation Misuzulu Zulu, with president Ramaphosa, Swati king, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma amongst those who attended the event.
Image: THEO JEPHTA

Misuzulu, who has promised to unite his nation and protect tradition, was officially recognised as the AmaZulu King by the  government on Saturday in the first Zulu coronation since 1971.

The official recognition by President Cyril Ramaphosa puts an end to lengthy legal wrangling that mired his succession to the throne — a battle that played out in public and the courts.

Supporters of new AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini arrive ahead of the final ceremony of his coronation in Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2022.
Supporters of new AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini arrive ahead of the final ceremony of his coronation in Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2022.
Image: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Misuzulu kaZwelithini, 48, was crowned the king of SA’s largest ethnic group in a customary celebration in August but required recognition from Ramaphosa to fully access government resources and support.

Supporters of new AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini dance during the final ceremony of his coronation in Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2022.
Supporters of new AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini dance during the final ceremony of his coronation in Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2022.
Image: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

This certificate of recognition was officially handed over on Saturday in Durban, where tens of thousands of people, mostly Zulus dressed in their traditional attire and carrying shields and clubs, gathered to recognise Misuzulu as the rightful heir to the late King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu.

A supporter of new AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini blows a trumpet during the final ceremony of his coronation, in Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2022.
A supporter of new AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini blows a trumpet during the final ceremony of his coronation, in Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2022.
Image: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Misuzulu’s father, King Zwelithini, passed away in March 2021 after reigning since 1971.

“You have picked up the mighty spear that has fallen. May your steady hand guide and bring stability to the kingship of AmaZulu,” Ramaphosa said, adding that the government was committed to working with the new king to help transform rural areas into places of prosperity.

Supporters of new AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini attend the final ceremony of his coronation, in Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2022.
Supporters of new AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini attend the final ceremony of his coronation, in Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2022.
Image: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

King Misuzulu reigns over a divided royal family, with another faction, which includes some of his late father’s wives and some of his siblings from the other palaces, recognising King Zwelithini’s firstborn son, Prince Simakade, as king.

Supporters of new AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini attend the final ceremony of his coronation, in Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2022.
Supporters of new AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini attend the final ceremony of his coronation, in Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2022.
Image: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Misuzulu was chosen as the rightful heir through the will of his mother, the late Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, who became interim leader after the death of King Zwelithini. The queen passed away just two months after Zwelithini.

Supporters of new AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini attend the final ceremony of his coronation, in Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2022.
Supporters of new AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini attend the final ceremony of his coronation, in Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2022.
Image: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

“I commit to developing the country and the economy and promoting peace and reconciliation, first among the Zulus and also among South Africans and Africans,” King Misuzulu said after taking his oath.

Supporters of new AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini attend the final ceremony of his coronation, in Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2022.
Supporters of new AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini attend the final ceremony of his coronation, in Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2022.
Image: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

The Zulu monarch does not have formal political power but is hugely influential as a custodian of the ethnic group’s traditional customs and land.

Supporters of new AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini attend the final ceremony of his coronation, in Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2022.
Supporters of new AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini attend the final ceremony of his coronation, in Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2022.
Image: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

The king controls vast swathes of land, estimated at about 3-million hectares, in KwaZulu-Natal under an entity called the Ingonyama Trust. — Reuters

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