Photographs by Daniel Laine:

There are still several hundred monarchs on this continent. While some amongst them have been relegated to the level of touristic curiousities, others still maintain significant traditional and spiritual power. Born of dynasties which marked the history of Africa until the twentieth century, these kings are the source of underground power with which “modern governments” have to exist. Contrary to the Indian Maharajas, they have survived the upheavals of history, and evolve in a parallel world but which is very real.

However, for some Africans, they are the shameful incarnation of the failure of archaic systems in the face of western colonization. They are blamed for their tribal conservatism which blocks the passage of traditional African societies toward modern states. For others, they are the guarantors of old cultural bases, the ultimate rampart before the anguish of an uncertain and tumultuous future. Be that as it may, they are still a presence in the countries, a reality that needs to be included.


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