It is in songs and dances in the Moses Mabhidade stadium in Durban that the official enthronement of the new ruler of the Zulu, Misuzulu Zulu, 48 years old, took place on Saturday. He succeeds his father, King Zwelithini, who died in March 2021, after more than 50 years of reign.
The event marks the end of a year of bitter fratricidal quarrels over the royal succession. The monarch has promised to promote “peace and reconciliation” and to be a “catalyst” for development.
“I understand that history has chosen me at this time, when the Zulu nation and other nations are facing several challenges. Among these challenges are poverty, unemployment, a lack of trust in government and the traditional leadership structures, climate change related disasters, economic collapse, food insecurity, famine related diseases which are not only ravaging our people but also our economies.” .
Although the title of king does not confer executive power, monarchs wield great moral influence over more than 11 million Zulus, who make up almost a fifth of South Africa’s population of 60 million.
The South African President handed over a giant framed certificate officially recognizing Misuzulu Zulu as ”the only king of the Zulu nation”. It was in the presence of the king King Mswati III of Eswatini, moreover, uncle of the new sovereign.
Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged, “a historic moment that only happens once in a lifetime”. And to add “many of us will never see him again,” said Cyril Ramaphosa. The last coronation of a king dating back more than half a century.
The Zulu kings are descendants of King Shaka, a 19th-century leader still revered for unifying much of the country as the Zulu nation, who fought bloody battles against British colonizers.