The Kings of Africa : 18 Fascinating Portraits by Daniel Laine

African Kings: Portraits of a Disappearing Era by Daniel Lane

From 1988 to 1991, French photographer Daniel Laine photographed 70 African monarchs, “whose dynasties marked the history of Africa until the middle of the twentieth century.” With hundreds of monarchs to choose from, Laine focused on those who continued to “retain a traditional and spiritual authority that is difficult for the Western mind to comprehend.”

Laine recalls the difficulties of getting permission for the photographs, the sensitive diplomatic negotiations involved in many cases. A war in Sudan prevented Laine from photographing the king of Shiluk, a descendant of black dynasties that ruled Egypt. Others, including the king of Swaziland, declined to be photographed.

With each striking photograph, Laine provides a brief biography and historical notes about the tribe and its rituals. Among those photographed are Chukumela Nnam Obi II, the Oba of Ogba, Nigeria; El Hadj Sheehu Idris, emir of Zaria, Nigeria; and Goodwill Zwelethini, king of the Zulu, South Africa. The book includes historical background by Pierre Alexandre on the origins and significance of African kingdoms.

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The Kings of Africa : 18 Fascinating Portraits by Daniel Laine

king1 joseph langanfin benin The Kings of Africa photographed by Daniel Laine
king1 joseph langanfin benin

Joseph Langanfin –Benin

king2 oniofife nigeria The Kings of Africa photographed by Daniel Laine
king2 oniofife nigeria

Oni (King) of Ife – Nigeria

king3 ngie kamga joseph fonofbandjun cameroun The Kings of Africa photographed by Daniel Laine
king3 ngie kamga joseph fonofbandjun cameroun

Ngie Kamga Joseph – Fon of Bandjun – Cameroon

king4 halidou sali lamido of bibemi The Kings of Africa photographed by Daniel Laine
king4 halidou sali lamido of bibemi

Halidou Sali – Lamido of Bibemi – Cameroon

king5 oseadeeyo addo dankwa iii kingofakropong akuapem The Kings of Africa photographed by Daniel Laine
king5 oseadeeyo addo dankwa iii kingofakropong akuapem

Oseadeeyo Addo Dankwa III – King of Akropong – Akuapem – Ghana

king6 abubaka sidiq sultanofsokoto nigeria The Kings of Africa photographed by Daniel Laine
king6 abubaka sidiq sultanofsokoto nigeria

Abubaka Sidiq – Sultan of Sokoto – Nigeria

king7 hapi iv king of bana cameroun The Kings of Africa photographed by Daniel Laine
king7 hapi iv king of bana cameroun

Hapi – VI – King of Bana – Cameroon

king8 nyimi kok mabiintosh iii drcongo The Kings of Africa photographed by Daniel Laine
king8 nyimi kok mabiintosh iii drcongo

Nyimi Kok Mmabiintosh III – King of Kuba – D. R. Congo

king9 igwe kenneth nnaji onyemaeke orizu iii The Kings of Africa photographed by Daniel Laine
king9 igwe kenneth nnaji onyemaeke orizu iii

Igwe Kenneth Nnaji Onyemaeke Orizu III – Obie Of Nnewi – Nigeria

king10isienwenro james iyoha inneh nigeria The Kings of Africa photographed by Daniel Laine
king10isienwenro james iyoha inneh nigeria

Isienwenro James Iyoha Inneh – Ekegbian of Benin – Nigeria

king12 agboli agbo dedjlani benin The Kings of Africa photographed by Daniel Laine
king12 agboli agbo dedjlani benin

Agboli-Agbo Dedjlani – King of Abomey – Benin

king13 goodwill zwelethini king of zulu The Kings of Africa photographed by Daniel Laine
king13 goodwill zwelethini king of zulu

goodwill Zwelethini – King of Zulu – South Africa

king14 el hadji mamadou kabir usman The Kings of Africa photographed by Daniel Laine
king14 el hadji mamadou kabir usman

el Hadji Mamadou Kabir Usman – Emir of Katsina – Nigeria

king16 bouba abdoulaye cameroun The Kings of Africa photographed by Daniel Laine
king16 bouba abdoulaye cameroun

Bouba Abdoulaye – Sultan of Rey-Bouba – Cameroon

king17 aliyu mustapha nigeria The Kings of Africa photographed by Daniel Laine
king17 aliyu mustapha nigeria

Aliyu Mustapha – Lamido of Adamawa – Nigeria

king18 oba joseph adekola ogunoye nigeria The Kings of Africa photographed by Daniel Laine
king18 oba joseph adekola ogunoye nigeri

Oba Joseph Adekola Ogunoye – Olowo of Owo – Nigeria

Between the years of 1988 and 1991, French photographer Daniel Laine spent about 12 months on the African continent tracking down and photographing figures of royalty, and leaders of kingdoms. During this time he managed to photograph 70 monarchs and descendants of the great African dynasties with his work on this series.

Have a look at more photos of african people or designs in our archive.

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