In 1977, Jean-Bédel Bokassa was coronated His Imperial Majesty Emperor Bokassa the First of the Central African Empire in one of the most ostentatious ceremonies in modern history.
In a country with only 260 miles of paved roads and where 66 percent of the population lives on less than $1 a day, His Imperial Majesty’s coronation cost $22 million dollars and one third of the Central African Republic’s annual budget. 2,500 foreign dignitaries were invited to watch the two day event and feast on 220 tons of the world’s finest cuisine.
OH SHIT DIS NIGGA LOOK LIKE DOLEMITE!
Bokassa’s golden eagle throne weighed two tons and was made of solid gold. His $750,000 crown was encrusted with 2,000 diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. 450 pounds of rose petals were strewn before the emperor and his empress. His entourage was escorted by dozens of earls, counts, dukes and lords in sixty Mercedes-Benz limousines named from among his personal friends.
As the ‘absolute monarch’ of the Central African Republic, Jean-Bédel Bokassa forbade the use of the words ‘democracy’ and ‘elections’. He promoted himself to the rank of general and then marshal and later took the title ‘apostle’. In public appearances, Bokassa wore specially designed uniforms to accommodate all the medals and awards that he bestowed up himself.
He acquired four chateauxs in France, a fifty-room mansion in Paris, houses in Nice and Toulouse and a villa in Berne. He built a presidential palace in his ancestral home at Berengo and built a motorway there to access it with state funds. Political enemies were fed to lions and crocodiles at the Villa Kolongo. Witnesses claimed he kept the body of a murdered schoolteacher on a meat hook in the freezer in his imperial palace. His former chef claimed that he ate and cooked human flesh “with relish” and particularly enjoyed serving foreign dignitaries dishes made out of the bodies of his political opponents.
Over the course of his 14 year reign, Bokossa announced a ‘Move to the East’ and proclaimed ‘scientific socialism’ to be the goal of his government, but when that didn’t work out he converted to Islam and renamed himself Salah Addin Ahmed Bokassa. Then when he didn’t receive enough money from the Arab world, he reverted to the Catholic Church and crowned himself emperor of the Central African Empire in a lavish ceremony that emulated Napoleon Bonaparte.
His Imperial Majesty Emperor Bokassa I sired 62 children by 17 official wives of all races. He maintained a harem of mistresses in separate villas paid for by Central African Republic taxpayers. Before his regime was toppled amid accusations of cannibalism by French troops in Operation Barracuda in 1979, Bokassa milked state coffers and extorted $10 million dollars into overseas bank accounts.
CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC
After 58 years of independence, life has gotten so bad in the Central African Republic that Bokassa’s tyrannical reign is nostalgically remembered as a time of relative stability and prosperity. The Central African Republic has been embroiled in an on and off again civil war and religious conflict between Christians and Muslims since 2013. The countryside is dominated by as many as 20 armed groups and the authority of the government barely extends beyond the capital. Rebels are currently dragging patients out of hospital beds and torturing, raping and shooting them.