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Rukidi IV of Toro: The Boy King

When most of us are three-years-old, we are in our front yard playing with our toys and neighbourhood kids and running around without a care in the world besides who’s going to win hide and seek. On 26 August 1995, Crown Prince Oyo Nyimba succeeded his father as the Omukama (King) of Toro. At only three and half years old, he became the 12th ruler of the 180-year-old kingdom in Uganda.

Born Rukirabasaija Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru on 16 April 1992 in Uganda, he is the son of King Patrick David Mathew Kaboyo Olimi III and Queen Best Kemigisa Kaboyo.  A middle child, he has an older sister, Princess Ruth Nsemere Komuntale (b. 1989) and a younger sister, Princess Celia Komukyeya (b. 1994). The latter died of leukaemia in October of 1997.

On 12 September 1995, a week after his father’s burial, the ceremonies to hand over the reins of power to Oyo began. The ceremony started at 2 a.m. and lasted two hours. The various rituals included a mock battle, sounding a sacred Chwezi drum, and being blessed with the blood of a slaughtered bull and a white hen. A religious service presided over by Bishop Eustance Kamanyire took place during this time. After being crowned at 4 a.m., he entered the palace and was served his first meal as monarch. He sat on the lap of a virgin girl and swore his allegiance to the crown while lying on the ground on his side.

Because King Oyo was only a toddler when he became the sovereign (whose role is limited to cultural duties), three regents were appointed to assist him with the handling of cultural affairs. This was to assure his growth as King. His regents were his mother Queen Best; his aunt, Princess Elizabeth Bagaaya; and the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni. The regents served him faithfully until the day after his 18th birthday on 17 April 2010, when he took the reins as monarch entirely without the need of a regent.

After attending preschool in London, England, King Oyo attended Kampala International School Uganda. In 2010, he began studying at the University of Winchester in Winchester, Hampshire, England and graduated in October 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management.

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