DURBAN (Realist English). On August 20, the coronation of the new leader of the Zulus took place at the royal palace in Kwa-Nongoma, located about 300 km north of the South African city of Durban, France 24 TV channel reports. The 47-year-old Misuzulu Zulu became the new king, who inherited the throne from his late father Goodwill Zvelitini.
“Today the Zulu nation is opening a new chapter in its history. I promise to work for the unification of the Zulus,” the new ruler, dressed in a traditional leopard skin and a necklace of predator claws, said in his throne speech.
The royal title does not imply executive power. However, the monarchs have the moral authority of more than 11 million Zulus, who make up almost a fifth of the population of South Africa.
Early in the morning, men and women in colorful traditional outfits began to gather near the marble palace on the hills of Nongoma, a small coastal town in the southeastern province of Kwazulu-Natal, the heart of the Zulus, to welcome the new monarch.
“This is a great day. We are making history,” 80—year-old Bongani Khumalo, who serves in a regiment of soldiers responsible for protecting the king, told AFP.
Misuzulu Zulu’s path to the throne was not smooth. King Zvelitini, who died last year, left behind six wives and 28 children. Misuzulu is the first son of Zvelitini’s third wife, whom he appointed regent in his will.
A month after her husband’s death, she suddenly dies, leaving a will in which Misuzulu was named the next king. However, other branches of the family did not like it.
Queen Sibongile Dlamini, the late king’s first wife, supported her son Prince Simakade Zulu as the rightful heir. Some of the late king’s brothers nominated the third prince as a candidate for the throne. However, it was Misuzulu who became the leader of the Zulus.
Zvelitini received about 71 million rand ($4.2 million) annually from the government, and also owned several palaces and other property.
The Royal Trust manages almost three million hectares (7.4 million acres) of land — an area the size of Belgium.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who recognized Misuzula as the rightful king in March, is due to officially confirm the legitimacy of the coronation in the coming months.