Boy King Turns 21 With Colorful Ceremonies, Clothes
MBABANE, Swaziland (AP) _ King Mswati III celebrated his 21st birthday on Wednesday, watching military parades and tribal dancing and topping the day off at a party complete with a 2,750-pound birthday cake.
As the young king emerged from his limousine at Somhlolo National Stadium, the crowd of 60,000 gasped, then cheered at his garb. Mswati wore a purple suit with polka-dot sleeves and black hat, instead of the traditional leopard- skin loincloth and red feather in his hair.
President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, who had attended Mswati’s coronation in 1986, delivered a congratulatory speech and sat next to the young monarch and his wives at the stadium.
Representatives of 20 other African nations also attended and were invited to a party afterward at the Lozitha Royal Palace, which featured the huge cake that was able to feed 4,000 people.
In his speech, King Mswati congratulated South Africa, Angola and Cuba for their agreement providing for withdrawal of foreign troops from Angola and independence for Namibia.
He said he would seek to implement his country’s long-standing policies of good neighborliness and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, and said he was praying that God would give him wisdom to rule the 6,946-square-mile nation of 750,000 people located between South Africa and Mozambique.