Re-blogged from: The African Renaissance
“From 1988 to 1991, French photographer Daniel Laine photographed 70 African monarchs, “whose dynasties marked the history of Africa until the middle of the twentieth century.” With hundreds of monarchs to choose from, Laine focused on those who continued to “retain a traditional and spiritual authority that is difficult for the Western mind to comprehend.”
Laine recalls the difficulties of getting permission for the photographs, the sensitive diplomatic negotiations involved in many cases. A war in Sudan prevented Laine from photographing the king of Shiluk, a descendant of black dynasties that ruled Egypt. Others, including the king of Swaziland, declined to be photographed. With each striking photograph, Laine provides a brief biography and historical notes about the tribe and its rituals. Among those photographed are Chukumela Nnam Obi II, the Oba of Ogba, Nigeria; El Hadj Sheehu Idris, emir of Zaria, Nigeria; and Goodwill Zwelethini, king of the Zulu, South Africa. The book includes historical background by Pierre Alexandre on the origins and significance of African kingdoms.
The hardcover book (no longer in print) is 160 pages. It was published in 2000 by Ten Speed Press (ISBN-10: 1580082246, ISBN-13: 978-1580082242). For some reviews and additional information, you can check out the book’s page on Amazon. There you can also find links to online stores selling copies of the book (both new and used).
Please keep in mind the pictures and descriptions are from over 20 years ago. It is likely much has changed and some of these Kings may no longer be alive. I attempted to find some recent information on some of these individuals but updates were sparse and it was difficult to validate any of the information I did find. If any history buffs have moredetails, please let us know in the comments below!