Mammoth Crowds Assemble for King Misuzulu’s Coronation

Celebratory songs, chants and dance have filled the main stadium in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban ahead of the historic coronation of the Zulu king.

King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini, 49, will be formally acknowledged as a monarch.

King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini

It will be the first Zulu coronation since South Africa became a democracy in 1994.

The event takes place days after the US warned of a risk of a terror attack in the country but Police Minister, Bheki Cele has said the threats won’t impact the ceremony at the Moses Mabhida Stadium where several local and foreign dignitaries are among tens of thousands of people attending.

The event will mark a lot of firsts for South Africa.

King Zwelithini will be formally acknowledged as monarch by President Cyril Ramaphosa – the first time a black president has been involved in a Zulu coronation.

It will be the first Zulu coronation since the country became a democracy in 1994.

Zulu women clad in traditional dresses arrive at the Moses Mabhida Stadium

In another first, the coronation is being broadcast live on national television.

It will also finally put an end to the fierce family feud that dogged his succession to the throne – an embarrassing battle played out in public.

The Reed Dance is a rite of passage for young Zulu women and teenage girls

The last coronation took place on a rainy day back in 1971 under the apartheid government, when King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu was crowned.

Then, as now, South Africa’s traditional leadership was regulated by the government but the white-minority authorities at the time expected the young monarch to wear Western attire.

BBC/Maxwell Oyekunle

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