The author ponders why the Indian community does not have its own royal family.
The author ponders why the Indian community does not have its own royal family.

Letter - I recently saw a report that Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini receives an annual salary of R1.1million and an annual budget of R60m.

Apparently, or so says the report, he is not happy with the salary and budget and feels he should get more because his subjects contribute the most to the national Budget.

South Africa has 10 kings and one queen.

It is not my place to offer any comment on this issue out of absolute respect for the cultural values and traditions of all the people of South Africa.

Still, it got me wondering why the Indian community does not have its own royal family.

The community numbers over a million members and we deserve our own royalty because, apparently, we also contribute a lot of money to the national Budget.

Before you start knocking this idea, consider how much actual good that kind of money can do.

We can spruce up RK Khan Hospital or even provide more money for taking care of the most vulnerable.

I don’t think that the many homes that take care of the elderly would refuse a windfall like R60m.

But how do we go about choosing our first king? We could elect our first king (given how patriarchal we are) but elections are so messy and would most likely lead to infighting.

It just won’t look good for our new king to be embroiled in politics.

We must find another way to choose our king.

Most kings and emperors have ascended to the throne because they were the first-born male offspring of a royal family.

Royal families usually belong to dynasties and their initial ascension to the throne was achieved by brutality and force.

They were able to defeat and subjugate other tribes into a kingdom.

The king is supposed to lead his army into battle to protect his kingdom from other kings.

Of course, it helps if some divine power anoints this person as well.

So, it seems that we have some criteria already: must be the first-born male, a fighter, be intelligent and must be anointed by a god.

Now I know that people are going to find problems with my criteria.

Some people will complain that it is sexist because I left out women, some may accuse me of being unfair to those who are not first-born, others may complain about which God should do the anointing.

The only thing I can suggest to these people is that they should take it up with the king as soon as he is crowned.

So, who should be our first king? The simple and most effective way to do this is to have a competition.

The preliminary round should be open to all who think they have the royal potential.

All the candidates would be put through gruelling athletic tasks like egg-and-spoon and sack races.

Only the top 50 would be able to proceed to the next level where they will be organised into teams.

These would be put through their paces in the physically challenging games like three tins, stingers and rounders.

The two top teams would then be subjected to a barrage of intellectual challenges such as trivial pursuit, Monopoly and snakes and ladders.

Eventually, we would have whittled down the candidates to just six.

A more stringent intelligent challenge awaits them.

They would have to wrestle and box each other until two of them drop off through sheer exhaustion.

The remaining four would then compete in the ultimate challenge: thunee.

Then we will have just two contenders and they would be given three tasks: firstly, they would have to find the best bunny chow in Durban; secondly, they would have a bhangra dance-off; and, finally, they would have to find the crown that was hidden in Phoenix Plaza.

Finally, we have a king who is strong, resourceful, cunning and intelligent.

His wife, if he is married, will become the queen and his children, if he has any, will become the princes and princesses.

The next step would be to arrange the coronation.

It must be held at a place most frequented by members of the Indian community. Perhaps Sibaya Casino or Suncoast would be available?

Then we have to build or buy this king a palace.

I’m not sure that we can buy Emperors Palace or Jaipur Palace, or perhaps King’s House in Durban may be up for sale soon.

If our new king is not married we can arrange a huge dance where all the available young virgins can parade around wearing something skimpy.

Our king can personally test their virginity before choosing his bride and, since he is our king, he may choose as many as he wants.

So we have sorted out the selection of our new king, got him crowned, got him married and even sorted out his palace. Oh, I almost forgot, all the land belonging to members of the Indian community will be appropriated and held in trust by our king.

He can then determine who gets to use the land.

Of course, we have to keep him safe so we have to provide Royal Security to guard him and his family day and night and to keep corrupt people away from him.

Just think about it the new king will be able to represent the community everywhere and we won’t need those false community leaders any more.

The king would be able to answer all those difficult questions that have plagued the community.

He would be able to explain to us “Warrapen Keegan”.

It would be such a proud moment to watch our king take his rightful place at the table together with the kings of the country.

Imagine our king sitting with King Steve Hofmeyr of the Afrikaans community and the other kings and queens.

Of course, there is the possibility that our king might try to take over the whole country and create a new empire ah well, one can only dream

* Kiren Thathiah is an academic, artist, author and creative director at SA Local Content.