The king of the Zulu nation in South Africa, Misuzulu ka Zwelithini was on Saturday, 20 August crowned in a traditional ceremony after a long feud.
The 48-year-old is the son of the previous king, King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu, but some royals were opposed to his coronation arguing that he was not the rightful heir and that the late king’s will was in fact forged.
Thousands of Zulu people gathered at Saturday’s traditional coronation at KwaKhangelamankengane Palace.
During the ceremony, Misuzulu entered the sacred cattle kraal to invoke his ancestors before being announced to both the living and the dead as the new Zulu monarch.
He was expected to wear the skin of the lion that he killed for the royal event, a key feat in proving he is indeed the chosen one.
More than 10 cows were slaughtered in preparation for the festivities.
Next month, the Zulu king is to be hosted by the government for a state ceremony.
The throne has no formal political power, but a fifth of South Africa’s population is Zulu.
The monarchy remains hugely influential with a yearly taxpayer-funded budget of more than $4.9 million.
The Zulu kingdom has a proud history. It is world-famous for defeating British troops during the 1879 battle of Isandlwana.
It was founded by the legendary King Shaka ka Senzangakhona who killed his brother in 1816 in order to take the throne.
He was, however, assassinated in a plot masterminded by his nephew years later.
Controversies Around Misuzulu ka Zwelithini’s Coronation
King Goodwill Zwelithini left a disputed will in which he named his third wife Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu as regent.
A regent is someone who plays a caretaker role pending the appointment of a successor.
Queen Mantfombi, who was the late King’s third wife, held the highest status among the king’s wives because she came from royalty.
Her father was the late King Sobhuza II and her brother was King Mswati III of Eswatini.
Her marriage to the Zulus came with the condition that her first-born son would be first in line for the throne on her husband’s death.
So when she died a month after becoming regent, their son Misuzulu ka Zwelithini was seen as the obvious choice to take power.
It was also stated in Queen Mantfombi’s will that her son, Misuzulu ka Zwelithini, had also been named as successor.
Moreover, the fact that Prince Misuzulu was the only person to inherit the traditional weapons of his grandfather King Cyprian Bhekuzulu ka Solomon was seen as an endorsement that he would eventually take over from his father.
However, two more of the late king’s sons -Simakade ka Zwelithini and Buzabazi ka Zwelithini – have been staking their claim to the throne.
In March, President Cyril Ramaphosa formally recognised Misuzulu ka Zwelithini as the new Zulu king.
However, Misuzulu’s brother, Mbonisi Zulu, approached the courts in a bid to halt the coronation.
The court dismissed his application and allowed coronation proceedings to continue.
More: BBC News