African Kings

In many parts of the African continent, kings still exist for various tribes and regions, although they don’t wield the same power they used to. Daniel Laine has travelled around Africa and profiled a whole bunch of these kings. Above is Nyimi Kok Mabiintsh III, the King of Kuba in the Democratic Republic of Congo:

The Nyimi Mabiintsh III is fifty years old. He acquired the throne at the age of twenty. As a descendant of god the creator, the king is attributed with supernatural powers.

Due to his top position he is restricted by several contraints: he does not have the right to sit on the ground, and he cannot cross a cultivated field. Apart from his cook, no one has seen him eat. Moreover he never travels without him, and his personal cooking ustensils.

It took me three weeks to photograph the Nyimi (king) of the Kuba in his royal apparel, the “bwantshy”. The outfit made out of material stitched with beads and “cauris” (small shells used as money in Africa), weighs 160 lb. It takes more than two hours to dress the King, and two days of spiritual preparation to be sufficiently purified in order to wear the outfit.

The weight and the heat of the bwantshy is such, that it is impossible to wear it more than one hour. The preceeding King had only worn it three time during his entire life.

Daniel Laine’s Fantastic Work on African Kings [Design You Trust]

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