King Misuzulu’s coronation draws crowds in South Africa.

Photo of author

By Creative Media News

Before the historic crowning of the Zulu monarch, the main stadium in the South African coastal city of Durban was filled with celebratory songs, chants, and dance.

49-year-old King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini will be legally recognized as a monarch.

It will be the first Zulu coronation since South Africa’s transition to a democratic government in 1994.

The occurrence occurs days after the United States warned of the possibility of a terrorist assault in the country.

King misuzulu's coronation draws crowds in south africa.
King misuzulu's coronation draws crowds in south africa.

However, Police Minister Bheki Cele has stated that the threats will not affect the celebration at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, which will be attended by tens of thousands of people, including local and foreign leaders.

South Africa will experience several firsts at this event.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will formally recognize King Zwelithini as monarch, marking the first time a black president has participated in a Zulu coronation.

It will be the first coronation of a Zulu monarch since the country’s transition to democracy in 1994. It will also put an end to the bitter family strife that plagued his accession to the kingdom, which was a public embarrassment.

South africa
King misuzulu's coronation draws crowds in south africa.

The last coronation took place on a wet day in 1971 when King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekusulu was crowned under the apartheid government.

The government governed the traditional leadership of South Africa then, as it does now. At the time, though, the white-minority leaders expected the young monarch to wear Western dress.

He wore a suit to the ceremony, with a leopard hide sash being the only homage to Zulu fashion.

Saturday’s celebration, in contrast, featured an elaborate display of Zulu culture, with both old and young participants wearing traditional regalia.

Misuzulu will become the ninth Zulu monarch once President Ramaphosa presents him with a certificate of honor.

Professor of African languages at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Zulu culture expert Sihawukele Ngubane adds, “It’s a wonderful celebration, the beginning of a new era.”

King misuzulu's coronation draws crowds in south africa.
King misuzulu's coronation draws crowds in south africa.

“During apartheid, the government awarded the certificate to the king. This time, we anticipate our monarch to wear his customary attire, as we now reside in a democracy in which his Majesty is under no compulsion to wear British-inspired attire.”

The coronation is being televised live on national television, marking another first.

A fifth of South Africa’s population is Zulu, the country’s largest ethnic group, and the monarchy’s annual budget exceeds $3.6 million (£3.2 million).

South Africans have an aversion to royalty because eight monarchs are legally recognized by the government and are all paid by taxpayers.

Many criticize the ostensibly extravagant lifestyles of some traditional leaders, who drive luxury automobiles and own expansive houses.

A traditional coronation for King Misuzulu took place at KwaKhangelamankengane Palace in KwaZulu-Natal province two months before the state coronation, which was attended by thousands of people.

The Zulu royal household receives one of the largest budget allocations; however, according to KwaZulu-provincial Natal’s government, this money is not only spent on the family, but also employee pay, palace maintenance, and programs dealing with traditional rites and social cohesion.

Political parties on all sides of the divide have hailed the new monarch, including the controversial Economic Freedom Fighters led by Julius Malema. Ahead of the event, the Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party says it has resolved its differences with the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

Only the South African Communist Party appears dissatisfied; its members intend to protest the event to bring attention to the political situation in neighboring Eswatini, where the absolute monarch, King Mswati III, is witnessing the coronation of his nephew, King Misuzulu.

The media attention surrounding the succession dispute has brought King Misuzulu to the notice of the South African populace and, for some, endearing him.

When he botched his first speech, he became a trending topic on social media because young South Africans thought they could empathize with him and teased him in jest.

He survived several months after his father’s death and before his official succession was determined. It was an impassioned plea to the people of KwaZulu-Natal to stop the looting and rioting that erupted in July 2021 after the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma, a proud Zulu, for contempt of court.

It was the worst violence the country had seen since the end of apartheid, but as he attempted to read the speech in Zulu, he ended up reading it in English far more effortlessly.

Prof. Ngubane concludes that this demonstrates that although King Misuzulu just holds a ceremonial status, he is regarded by many as a moral authority.

“In Zulu, we say ‘Umlomo ongathethi manga,’ which means ‘The king’s word is the law.'”

And when he presided over the Reed Dance, a rite of passage for adolescent girls, he spoke out against gender violence in a country with one of the highest rates of rapes and sexual assaults in the world.

“Violence against women and children is a national humiliation. A lady deserves respect and protection. We must do better as guys, “he urged.

On the sidelines of those rehearsing for the coronation in Durban, a few young women explain the significance of the event to their generation.

One of them says, “We are delighted to attend to show him that we support him as king 100 percent.”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to content