Pupils to wear traditional clothes for new Zulu King

Pupils in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province have been told to wear traditional clothes to school next Tuesday to honour the new Zulu king.

Misuzulu ka Zwelithini was crowned in a traditional ceremony on Saturday, even as some royals argued he was not the rightful heir to the throne.

The provincial education department has declared August 30 a day for schools to celebrate and honour the new 48-year-old monarch.

Teachers and other school employees have also been asked to wear their traditional attire to celebrate the “historic event”.

In a circular, the department committed to working with the king in pursuit of quality public education in the province.

Clothing is an important part of Zulu culture – and often includes colourful beadwork and animal skins.

After a year-long family feud, Misuzulu ka Zwelithini has been crowned Zulu king in a traditional ceremony in South Africa.

The 48-year-old is the son of the previous king, but some royals had argued he was not the rightful heir and that the late king’s Will was in fact forged.

Thousands of people gathered at Saturday’s traditional coronation at KwaKhangelamankengane Palace, where the king 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 hide of the lion that he hunted 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, he 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 and its monarchy remains hugely influential with a yearly taxpayer-funded budget of more than $4.9m (£3.5m).

The Zulu kingdom has a proud history. It is world-famous for defeating British troops during the 1879 battle of Isandlwana.

Its succession battles have always been fierce – and at times, bloody. The legendary King Shaka ka Senzangakhona killed his brother in 1816 in order to take the throne, then was himself assassinated in a plot masterminded by his nephew years later. -BBC

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