Assigned Reading: From Nurse’s Aide to Ugandan King
(FROM: Associated Press/PennLive.com)
For years, Charles Wesley Mumbere worked as a nurse’s aide in Swatara Township, Pa., and Maryland, caring for the elderly and sick. No one there suspected that he had inherited a royal title in his African homeland when he was just 13.
On Monday, after years of political upheaval and financial struggle, Mumbere, 56, was crowned king of his people to the sound of drum beats and thousands of cheering supporters wearing cloth printed with his portraits.
At a public rally later in the day, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni officially declared recognition of the 300,000-strong Rwenzururu Kingdom. Museveni restored the traditional kingdoms his predecessor banned in 1967, but has been adamant they restrict themselves to cultural duties and keep out of politics.
I found this to be fascinating. Maybe it’s because, as a kid, I watched Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America so many times, or maybe it’s because the fragile nature of African politics is always intriguing, especially because our own chief executive is so reminiscent of an African colonial.
Consider, for example, how Mumbere’s people celebrated the crowning of a new king by “wearing cloth printed with his portraits,” and then consider television actress Victoria Rowell’s dress at the 2009 Emmy Awards:
Either way, it’s a remarkable story. If you’ve spent any time at all in a hospital or nursing home, whether for good things or bad things, you’ve undoubtedly seen a number of nurse’s aides moving in and out of the rooms doing their rounds. This particular one was in line for an African throne, no matter how nominal the title may be.