‘Our King’: Ramaphosa recognizes South Africa’s new Zulu ruler | News

South Africa’s president formally recognizes King Misuzulu, following a legal dispute over succession.

South Africa’s new Zulu king, Misuzulu Kazuilitheni, was officially recognized as the head of the country’s most influential traditional monarchy by President Cyril Ramaphosa in the first Zulu coronation since 1971.

A ceremony honoring the new king, who promised to unite his nation and protect traditions, puts an end to the legal dispute that involved his accession to the throne.

“Our king is already officially the king of the Zulu nation and the sole king of the Zulu nation,” Ramaphosa said on Saturday.

The leader of South Africa’s largest ethnic group was crowned in August, but needed official recognition from the Ramaphosa to gain access and fully use government resources and support.

In March 2021, the former King Zwelithini, Misuzulu’s father, died after having ruled since 1971. The coronation was to recognize Misuzulu, 48, as the rightful heir after his late father.

“This historic moment only comes once in a lifetime, and many of us will never see this historic moment again,” Ramaphosa said.

“I have picked up the great spear that has fallen. I hope that your steady hand will lead you and bring stability to the Amazulu monarchy,” Ramaphosa said, adding that his government is committed to working with the new king to help turn rural areas into places of prosperity.

Although the title of king does not confer executive power, the monarchs wield significant moral influence over more than 11 million Zulu, who make up nearly a fifth of South Africa’s population of 60 million.

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King Misuzulu reigns over a divided royal family, with another faction, comprising some of his late father’s wives and some of his brothers from other palaces, recognizing King Zwelithini’s eldest son Prince Semakadi as king.

Misuzulu was chosen to be the rightful heir by the will of his mother, the late Queen Mantvumpi Dlamini Zulu, who became a temporary leader after the death of her husband, King Zwelithini. The queen died approximately two months after Zwelithini’s death.

“I am committed to the development of the country and the economy and to the promotion of peace and reconciliation first between Zulu and also between South Africans and Africans,” King Misuzulu said after taking the oath.

The king controls vast tracts of land, estimated at 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres), in KwaZulu-Natal under an entity called the Ingonyama Trust.

Khiya Ndwandwe, a Zulu historian, said at the stadium that the government’s recognition of the new king as “the true king of the Zulu people” means “now the king will be more than just a protection”.

“It is a wonderful day for the Zulu nation. It is a great day of joy for the Zulu people and for everyone,” said Ndwandwe.

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