The Arts

November 8, 2022

Elerinmo, Oba Arowotawaya II graces Zulu King’s coronation in South Africa

…fraternize with the Nigerian community in SA.

By Chris Onuoha

His Royal Majesty, Oba Dr. Michael Odunayo Ajayi, Arowotawaya II of Erinmo Kingdom, Ijesha in Osun State made a royal trip to Zululand in South Africa last week October 28, 2022, as a special guest of honour at the coronation of His Royal Majesty, King Misuzulu KaZwelithini in Durban, South Africa.

It was a royal trip indeed as Oba Arowotawaya II who was accompanied on the trip by Chief Rotimi Oniyaomebi,  the new Loja of Olorunsogo Afajigede – Ijaregbe ijesa alongside other chiefs were received at the Oliver Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg by the staff of the Consulate General of Nigeria in Johannesburg as the only monarch from the West African sub-region to be honoured with such a royal invite at the coronation, after which he moved to KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) where he was received by the President of Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA) Hon. Collins Thomas Mgbo.

Elerinmo also met with members of the National Association of Yoruba Descendants in Southern Africa (NAYDSA) led by the National President, Aare Seyi Akinyele, other members of the Nigerian community in South Africa and well-wishers from other African nations. The monarch also used the opportunity of the trip to play a pivotal role as a royal father in the re-establishment of the Structure of Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA), Durban ward, after which he encouraged the community members to be united and support the leadership of the Union President, Hon. Collins Thomas Mgbo, to create harmony among Nigerian communities in South Africa.

The coronation of King Misuzulu KaZwelithini was hosted at Moses Mahbida Stadium on October 29, 2022. Throngs of South Africans participated in the coronation ceremony to formally recognise King Misuzulu kaZwelithini as head of South Africa’s most influential traditional monarchy.

Born on September 23, 1974, in Kwahlabisa, the 48-year-old new monarch of Zululand had his formal education at St Charles College in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa before proceeding to Jacksonville University in the US for his undergraduate studies. He is currently married to two wives with three sons.

King Misuzulu Ka Zwelithini was formally acknowledged as monarch by President Cyril Ramaphosa, in an event marked as the first Zulu coronation since South Africa became democratic in 1994. It thus ended a long tussle to find a successor for King Goodwill Zwelithini, his father, who died last year after reigning for 50 years as the longest-reigning Zulu monarch.

Taking a vow of office, the newly crowned king who understands the importance of leadership and its significance in the life of his subjects at this point in time remarked,

“I understand that history has chosen me at this time, when the Zulu and other nations are facing several challenges. Among the challenges are poverty, unemployment, a trust deficit in government and traditional leadership structures, climate change disasters, economic meltdown, food insecurity, famine disease that not only ravages our people but also our economies”, said King Misuzulu kaZwelithini.

He also reiterated the need for unalloyed loyalty and cooperation among his subordinates and subjects to see an effective way of bringing meaningful leadership to the people of Zulu nation, South Africans and the entire world that shares diplomatic ties with South Africa.

It was also a colourful exchange of royal pleasantries at the dinner event as Oba Arowotawaya II met with prominent personalities and royal bloods in South Africa which include the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa; former President, Jacob Zuma, His Royal Majesty, Eswathi, the King of the Kingdom of Eswatini and a host of others. Within the little space, Oba Ajayi shared with the South African royalties, experiences of leadership at different levels of society between Nigeria and South Africa and how to develop and propagate the African culture and tradition to foster unity and economic cohesion among the two countries.

Also, it is pertinent to mention that the city of Durban, under the leadership and magnanimity of its executive Mayor, Thomas Mxolisi Kaunda hosted Oba Elerinmo to a dinner at Ushaka Marine World Park, known for its tourism destination on Durban’s Golden Mile. His Majesty also met with the President of the United Africa Business Association, Mr Mosa Monaheng and discussed some vital business issues including the importance of synergy in intercontinental economic activities.

Speaking on the significance of his royal trip to South Africa, Oba Arowotawaya II said, “The journey was important to me considering that this was an opportunity to reach out to another king in another region on the African continent. The Zulus are the largest ethnic tribe in South Africa and also, for me to be at the coronation of the young king was an opportunity to share my own experience, having been on the throne for a couple of years.

“I, being a direct descendant of the 3rd Ooni of Ife, I felt that this was an important journey to relate with the royal family. President Ramaphosa also in his comment noted that he was glad that the King has extended a hand of fellowship to other monarchs as far as in Nigeria, West Africa. However, we already have an ongoing plan for a traditional council conference on law and religion coming up in June 2023 that will include the participation of this great monarch from Zululand to share his own experience with us.

“I was also hosted to a dinner party by the Nigeria Consular General in Johannesburg, Mr Andrew Idi alongside other Nigerian dignitaries resident in South Africa, after which I met with a large community of Nigerians in South Africa who were highly impressed at my presence at the coronation. I commune with them, and charge them to be united, support their leaders and show good ambassadorship of their country Nigeria,” Oba Ajayi added.