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The World’s Youngest King celebrates birthday today

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The King of Tooro, Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukiidi IV, the youngest monarc in the world, has marked his 28th birthday.

Rukirabasaija Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV, King Oyo, is the reigning Omukama of Toro, in Uganda. He was born on 16 April 1992 to King Patrick David Mathew Kaboyo Olimi III and Queen Best Kemigisa Kaboyo. Three and half years later in 1995, Oyo ascended the throne and succeeded his father to become the 12th ruler of the 180-year-old Kingdom of Toro.

King Oyo at 3 years

The death of his father King Kaboyo in 1995 meant the Crown Prince had to assume the role of King during his toddler years. At 2 a.m. on 12 September 1995, a week after the late king’s burial, the rituals to hand over the reins of power to Oyo began. They included a mock battle at the palace entrance fought between enemy forces of a “rebel” prince and the royal army, and a test of Oyo’s divine right to the throne, in which the Omusuga, head of the royal clan, called on the gods to strike Oyo dead if he was not of royal blood. On passing the test, Oyo was permitted to sound theNyalebe, a sacred Chwezi drum, as his forefathers had done. He was then blessed with the blood of a slaughtered bull and a white hen.

At 4 a.m, Oyo was crowned King amidst a jubilant crowd and entered the palace as the new ruler of the Kingdom of Toro. He was served his first meal as King, which consisted of millet dough. He sat in the lap of a virgin girl, and he swore allegiance to the Crown while lying on his side on the ground.

The cultural rituals were followed by a religious ceremony presided over by theAnglican Bishop, Eustance Kamanyire. President Museveni attended the coronation celebrations and paid tribute to the new King.

King Oyo with his subjects

Three regents were charged with overseeing King Oyo’s growth into the role of King and with handling the cultural affairs of the Kingdom during the King’s childhood and youth. At the time of his coronation, the three regents included his mother, Queen Best (theQueen Mother); his aunt/godmother, Princess Elizabeth Bagaaya; and President Museveni.

The late Colonel Muamar Gaddafi, Libya’s former leader, was a patron of the Kingdom of Toro with close ties to the royal family. The 9 year old king King Oyo named Gaddafi the “defender” of the Kingdom and invited him to attend the 6th coronation anniversary celebrations in 2001. Gaddafi had made donations to the Kingdom, helping pay for refurbishments to the Palace in Fort Portal.

The Late Libyan leader, Muamar Gaddafi with King Oyo during one of Gaddafi’s visit to Uganda

Aside from his official duties, King Oyo goes to school and has time to play with his friends. However, his status dictates that he goes to private school and has a personal security guard at all times. Oyo spent two years in London and attended preschool there. On return to Uganda he got elementary level of education at The Aga Khan Primary school in Kampala. He later on went to Kampala International School Uganda for high school and says he enjoyed art, music, math, and swimming. He later on enrolled for a Degree in Business Management from Winchester University in the United Kingdom. In October 2013, three years later, King Oyo graduated from the University of Winchester with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management.

The young Oyo playing with his friends during his Pre-primary studies in London

Oyo Nyimba is referred to as the Omukama, which means “King”, and Rukirabasaija, which means “the greatest of men”. Although he is considered the sovereign leader of the Batooro, Oyo Nyimba’s power is limited to cultural duties.

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