Joseph Langanfin of Abomey, Benin
President of CAFRA, the council of the royal families from the Abomey dynasty.
Oni of Ife, Nigeria
Ife is one of the most ancient African dynasties. The coronation ritual used to include embracing the Sword of Justice and entering the palace on a cloth stiffened by the dried blood of sacrificed men and women. But that ritual is no more. Today Oni is a modern businessman.
Ngie Kamga Joseph of Bandjun, Cameroon
Brother of powerful animals, with the supernatural ability to shapeshift into a panther and haunt the savana! That panther is now chief of the cabinet of the Finance Minister of Cameroon.
Halidou Sali of Bibemi, Cameroon
Descendant of an ancient king of the Adamawa, who 2 centuries ago carried the flag of the Jihad in the region.
Oseadeeyo Addo Dankwa III of Akropong-Akuapem, Ghana
A graduate from the University of London and economic advisor of the Ghanian government. His emblem is the elephant, showing that his kingdom was created by force.
Abubakar Sidiq, sultan of Sokoto, Nigeria
He is no longer among the living, but he had reigned for over half a century. His coronation followed a bloody civil war between the clans. His legacy: 150 grand-children.
Hapi IV, king of Bana, Cameroon
This kingdom was founded in a strange way. In ancient times, a village chief was accused of sorcery, and in order to prove himself innocent, he cut his mother's head off and gave it to the shamans to examine it. Because it was believed that sorcery was transmitted through the maternal womb. After being acquitted, he ordered that everybody else's mothers be beheaded as well. In the ensuing panic, he consolidated his power.
Nyimi Kok Mabiintsh III, king of Kuba, DR Congo
He's the descendant of the Creator and has supernatural powers. Tradition forbids him to sit on the ground because he is divine. Btw it takes hours to put this outfit on. Which is why the king has worn it only a couple of times in his life.
Igwe Kenneth Nnaji Onyemaeke Orizu III of Nnewi, Nigeria
The founder of this kingdom started from a mere farmer in the lands of the Ibo which was full of rich city-states at the time the Portuguese arrived. The prosperity of these cities was based on the slave trade. The Ibo have never loved the idea of a united Nigeria where they would have to cohabit with the Yoruba and Hausa, and they were in the center of several wars, including the Biafra War.
Isienwenro James Iyoha Inneh of Benin, Nigeria
A former businessman, then commander of the Royal Guard, and king of the Akenzua.
El Hadj Seidou Njimoluh Njoya, sultan of Fumban, Cameroon
Reigning over half a century, heir to the famous Bamun Throne. Chosen by a council of elders among 177 children of his father, the famous enlightened Sultan Njoya who invented a separate alphabet for the Baumn language and had his own printing house at the time of WW1.
Agboli-Agbo Dedjani of Abomey, Benin
Former policeman, secretly crowned after his retirement. There's no official king of Benin these days, but the King of Abomey is a very reputed position in the local society. The protector on his nose protects him from the dust during the kingly processions.
El Hadj Mamadou Kabir Usman, emir of Katsina, Nigeria
A big fan of polo. His family has given Nigeria many polo champions. His village is at a key crossroads for trans-Saharan trade.
Salomon Igbinoghodua of Benin, Nigeria
A graduate of Cambridge University, his dynasty dates back to the 13th century.
Bouba Abdoulaye, sultan of Rey-Bouba, Cameroon
His territories are as large as Belgium Luxembourg combined. Former member of the Cameroon parliament, he renounced his modern lifestyle to succeed his father and become one of the most traditional sovereigns in Africa. Although he is allowed to leave his home only thrice a year, he has a vast network of informants spanning his kingdom, so it is said that "the king knows everything".
Aliyu Mustapha of Adamawa, Nigeria
His territory covers parts of South-West Nigeria and all of Northern Cameroon. He has 60 children and is the Chancellor of the University of Zaria, one of the most prestigious universities in Africa.
Oba Joseph Adekola Ogunoye of Owo, Nigeria
Because the legendary founder of the Owo kingdom fell in love with a goddess who was forbidden to live and work with mortal men, he had to vow that all his earthly wives would follow the same restrictions. But they grew jealous and revolved, doing all the forbidden things. Then the goddess cast a curse on the tribe, demanding that they should celebrate every year on a special ceremony in her favour to appease her, including human sacrifice - one man and one woman. Today the annual ritual remains, save for the human sacrifice, which has been substituted with a sheep or goat sacrifice.
Goodwill Zwelethini, king of Zulu, South Africa
A direct descendant of the legendary King Shaka, the founder of the Zulu Empire who had covered the whole Natal coast of the Indian ocean in blood, obliterating all neighbouring tribes in the early 19th century, triggering a process that was called Mfecane (the "scattering"). He believed this invasion was the only way for the Zulu to survive. They were eventually defeated by the British, but the Zulu remain one of the most powerful ethnicities on the southern tip of Africa.