The throb of skin drums mingled with" the high-pitched, cacophonous music of steel-stringed gourds. Fires flickered in every direction under great cauldrons simmering with a beef stew made from 14 cows and oxen. The village of Mahusekwa in Southern Rhodesia's Chiota reserve, only an hour's drive from bustling, modern Salisbury, made ready to crown a King.

Six miles away in a somber, echoing burial cave, the King-elect, naked and unarmed, stood trial by ordeal. Surrounded by the dusty mummies of eight of his ancestors, Willie Samuriwo kept his solitary vigil two long...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!