South Africa’s largest ethnic group, the Zulu, will crown a new king on Saturday after a year-long feud over who should take the throne of the country’s most influential traditional monarchy.

Misuzul Zulu, 47, will succeed his father, Goodwill Zwericini, who died last March after 50 years of service.

Although the title of king does not confer executive power, the Zulu monarch wields great moral influence over the more than 11 million Zulus, who make up nearly one-fifth of South Africa’s population.

On Saturday, Misuzul enters the Zulu royal palace, or ‘cow kraal’ at Kwaketomtandayo, Nongoma. KwaZulu-Natal is a small town in the heart of the southeastern province of Natal.

There, he participates in a secret ceremony designed to introduce the new monarch to his legendary ancestor.

Afterwards, he would be introduced to the public, who promised to “accept the king as their king,” said Gugurutu Mazibuko, an African culture expert 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 ceremony up close, but large crowds are expected to gather at the royal palace to celebrate the event. .

Zulu ceremonies typically involve singing and dancing by bare-chested women wearing elaborate necklaces, waistbands, and headbands. Meanwhile, men in animal skins, shields and spears perform war dances as a tribute to the Zulu’s military past.

– Royal Feud –

Zulu kings are descendants of 19th-century leader King Shaka. King Shaka is still revered for uniting large swaths of the country as the Zulus who fought bloody battles against the British colonizers.

The new monarch’s name means ‘Strengthen the Zulu’. However, his path to the throne has been subject to bitter family controversy.

King Zwericini left six wives and at least 28 children when he died last year at the age of 72 after battling a diabetes-related illness.

Misuzul was the eldest son of Zwericini’s third wife, Siiwe Mantofonbi Dlamini, whom the late king appointed as regent in his will after his death.

However, the Queen died suddenly a month later at the age of 68, and rumors spread that she had been poisoned.

She left a will designating Misuzuru to take the throne, but this did not go well with the other branches of the family.

Prince Shimakade Zulu, son of the late king’s first wife, was surrounded by a small group of people to block Mizuru’s coronation last weekend after a failed legal bid to challenge his right to the throne. In a last-minute move to do, I received an Ox Krall ceremony.

And at a solemn press conference held Thursday in Fourways, a northern suburb of Johannesburg, some of the late king’s brothers disowned the two legal heirs and named the third prince as a possible candidate for the throne.

But President Cyril Ramaphosa recognized Misuzur as the rightful king in March, paving the way for his accession to the throne.

– Land and Wealth –

The next Zulu monarch will inherit property and have a rich income stream.

Zwericini enjoyed royal status, receiving approximately R71 million ($4.2 million) annually from the government to carry out royal affairs and finance a luxurious lifestyle.

He owned several palaces and other properties, and a royal trust controlled nearly three million hectares (7.4 million acres) of land (roughly the size of Belgium).

Sihawukele Ngubane, an expert at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said the king was instead responsible for ensuring peace in society.

“He responds to the welfare of his subjects,” she said, explaining that the royal family is responsible for developing communities and infrastructure on land managed by the Trust.

After Saturday’s ceremony, the coronation process will be completed in another ceremony presided over by Ramaphosa, which will take place in the coming months.

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