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  • Ancient African King - Kigeli V Ndahindurwa - Black History and Literature Library
    Ancient African King - Kigeli V Ndahindurwa - Africa, African King, Rwandan King - Black History and Literature Library

    Ancient African King - Kigeli V Ndahindurwa

    Kigeli V Ndahindurwa (born Jean-Baptiste Ndahindurwa; 29 June 1936 – 16 October 2016) was the last ruling King (Mwami) of Rwanda, from 28 July 1959 until the abolition of the Rwandan monarchy on 25 September 1961, shortly before the country acceded to independence from Belgium.

    After a brief period of moveabouts after leaving Rwanda, the titular King lived in exile during the final part of his life in the town of Oakton, Virginia, United States. In exile, he was known for heading the King Kigeli V Foundation, an organisation promoting humanitarian work for Rwandan refugees. He was also notable for his activities in maintaining the dynastic, cultural heritage of his formerly reigning royal house, including noble titles, dynastic orders of chivalry and other distinctions.

    After the king's death, a successor was said to be shortly revealed. In January 2017, it was announced that Yuhi VI of Rwanda would succeed him. Yuhi VI is the nephew of both the late King Kigeli V and the previous King Mutara III, as well as a grandson of King Yuhi V of Rwanda.

    Kigeli was born Ndahindurwa on 29 June 1936 in KamembeRwanda, to Yuhi Musinga, the deposed King Yuhi V of Rwanda, and Queen Mukashema (born Mukashema Bernadette), the seventh of his eleven wives. He was ethnically Tutsi. Kigeli had fourteen siblings, being one of the youngest of his father's many children.

    When Kigeli was 4 years old, his father was exiled by the Belgian government to Moba, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Following the death of his father, in 1944 he returned to Rwanda. Kigeli was baptised in the Catholic Church in his teens, taking the Christian name Jean-Baptiste, and remained a devout Catholic throughout his life.

    He received his education at the Groupe Scolaire Astrida (now Groupe Scolaire Officiel de Butare) in Rwanda, and at the Nyangezi College in the modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo. After he finished school in 1956, he worked in local government in Rwanda until 1959.

    After his half-brother, King Mutara III Rudahigwa, died under mysterious circumstances on 25 July 1959, it was announced on 28 July that Kigeli would succeed him as King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa. "Kigeli" is sometimes transcribed as "Kigeri". Though married, Kigeli's late half-brother had had no children; the abrupt, shocking nature of the death prompted widespread talk of some kind of assassination having occurred.

    Kigeli died of a heart ailment at the age of eighty on the morning of 16 October 2016 in a hospital in Washington, D.C.. His private secretary, Guye Pennington, said that an heir had been chosen and would be announced shortly. Kigeli never married, in obedience to a rule banning marriage for kings while they were out of the country.

    Although Kigeli never married, on 9 January 2017, the Royal House announced that his nephew, Prince Emmanuel Bushayija (to reign as Yuhi VI of Rwanda), would succeed him as pretender to the Rwandan throne. He is the son of the half-brother of Kigeli, Prince William Bushayija. After Kigeli's death, it was revealed he had at least one daughter, Jacqueline Rwivanga, married to Andrew Rugasira 1998-2015 and a mother of five.

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