King Oyo was crowned when he was 3 years old. Now he is 17 years old and more qualified for the job. He rules over the kingdom of Tooro, that is composed of about 2 million people. Like Uganda’s other 3 kings, he governs with the advice of President Museveni.
Fort Portal, Uganda (CNN) — At first glance, he looks like any other 17-year-old. He bobs his head to rapper Jay-Z, plays video games and reads the “Twilight” vampire books. When he’s not doing homework, he kicks a soccer ball in his backyard. Yet looks can be deceiving. People in this corner of western Uganda know the young man as King Oyo, one of the world’s youngest ruling monarchs.
Friends at school greet him with hugs and handshakes, but back home, subjects kiss his feet while sprawled before him on the ground, as if they were doing push ups.
“I still find it a little uncomfortable when people bow, especially the older ones,” says the king, whose full name is Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV. “My friends at school (could not) care less that I’m a king. They like me for who I am, not for what I am.”
King Oyo has worn the crown for as long as he can remember. He ascended to the throne aged three, after his father died in 1995. For his coronation, the toddler sat on a miniature throne and played with toys after a mock battle with a grown-up “rebel” prince. At one point, his majesty dashed from the throne to climb onto his mother’s lap. He also yanked off a lion-skin crown that was too heavy for his little head. The next day, King Oyo attended a meeting with Cabinet members who were old enough to be his grandparents.
Now he stands nearly six feet tall and looks much more regal. He sits on a throne draped with leopard skin and wears a royal robe of blue and gold, his cropped hair covered by a crown with a fluffy white tail.
Tooro Kingdom Website