CENTRAL AFRICA: Mounting a Golden Throne

A lot more Napoleonic panoply than "African authenticity "

It was an extravaganza that few of the 3,500 guests from 43 nations would ever forget—or forgive. The scene was Bangui, dusty upriver capital of the Central African Empire (formerly Republic), and the event was the coronation last week of the continent's only Emperor since the deposition and death of Ethiopia's Haile Selassie. Sweltering in the 100° heat and 90% humidity, the guests, in morning coats and Parisian gowns, struggled to attention as a voice boomed out over the loudspeaker: "Sa Majesté Impériale,...

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