Reported in the News Letter on February 28, 1947: Witch doctors serve up a dramatic welcome for Royals in South Africa

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Four witch doctors, in fur headdresses and white robes hung with charms, danced and chanted a welcome to the King and Queen and the Princesses yesterday when they drove into New Brighton, a “black suburb” four miles from Port Elizabeth.

The Princesses, leaning forward in the car, watched with fascination the tribal customs of the Bantu.

The entire native population of 25,000 turned out to see the Royal visitors, many of them running by the side of the car, shouting in a mixture of the Xosa language and English. Native women in white robes sang a song of greeting.

The Regent of Xosa, paramount chief of the tribe, and his sister, who was dressed in European clothes, greeted the Royal Family.

A tall, lean Bantu, chosen by lot, brandishing a ceremonial spear and clad in a leopard skin, leapt into the roadway and shouted “Asozizwe”, meaning “Father of Nations”. The Bantu men and women, wildly excited, took up the cry “Asozizwe” as the car passed them.

In an impromptu speech at luncheon at the Port Elizabeth Club, the King thanked the councillors for the city’s wonderful welcome. The Queen and Princess Margaret appeared on the balcony of the Club in response to repeated cries of “We want the Queen” from the crowd outside.

After lunch the Royal Family visited the famous Snake Park where they looked over the edge of a pit in which a grinning Basuto twined deadly cobra round his neck.

“How horrible,” said the King. The Princesses appeared unperturbed.