Sekoti is new King of the North

King of the North: Sekoti with a female PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
King of the North: Sekoti with a female PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES

Against all odds, the lone young snip-tail lion called Sekoti of the Savuti Marsh that was chased out of the pride by its ruthless father to fend for itself has successfully conquered a territory that few predicted it would dare tread into, writes *THALEFANG CHARLES from Savuti

Early morning at Harvey’s Pan, on the northern side of Savuti River, Sekoti is sleeping like the ‘man of the house’. Relaxed and at home on the territory which is known to belong to his elder brothers, he is in a Kappa position, back-to-back with one of the females of the Northern Pride. “No male sleeps like this in another male’s territory,” safari guide, Obed Phuti from Savute Safari Lodge quips in a comment before he declares, “He has surely taken over”.“We have concluded that he has pushed out Pretty Boy,” says another safari guide, Robert Obonye from Savute Elephant Lodge, who has followed Sekoti from the lion’s birth.

Sekoti’s road to the North was unimaginable because the area was held by three vicious lions, Tshekedi, Blondie and Pretty Boy. The trio is Sekoti’s elder brothers who were long chased away from the pride by their savage father, Sekekama.

Sekoti at Harveys Pan north of Savuti River 
Sekoti at Harveys Pan north of Savuti River PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES

When Sekoti’s time of eviction from the pride finally arrived, Sekoti was alone with no males to form a coalition with. He was caught between two territories where he was both unwanted. He wandered alone between Leopard Rock and Sable Hill with many lion enthusiasts around the world that followed him making wild predictions of what would happen next. The exciting possibility was the ‘impending war’ with his dad. The thought of one brave young male dethroning such colossal lions as Sekekama and Torn Nose was sensational.

People chose sides, some rallied behind the young prince rooting for him to end one of Africa’s longest-reigning lion kings. Others were on the old timer’s corner, saying just like all the lions that dared cross Sekekama in the past 11 years, Sekoti would be lucky to run away with his snip tail tucked between his legs.

Sekoti ventured north where he discovered that his elder brothers were not as united as before. He found the Northern Pride headed by Pretty Boy while two of his brothers were away.

Sensing some prospects in the area, Sekoti started a violent campaign to conquer the north. The bloody campaign left him with life-threatening injuries.

The second battle of his war with Pretty Boy that happened early in 2021, was the bloodiest as it left both lions nursing some pretty bad injuries. Sekoti was limping badly with a swollen foot. Pretty Boy spent a few days in hiding after the battle, but it was later discovered that he had barely survived the fight as Sekoti had defaced him, messing up his ‘prettiness’.

While Sekoti was still boldly contesting to annex the North, he recruited his three young brothers from the Marsh Pride.

It was a fragile coalition that few gave a chance to amount to anything.

The three young males kept leaving Sekoti alone returning to the pride for food supplies because they were still inexperienced to hunt – earning themselves the nickname ‘Renegades’. Without any backup, Sekoti went on a solo mission to attempt to wrestle the North from Pretty Boy. The smart females from the North saw great potential in Sekoti and that was when they started visiting him to let him mate. It was an insurance policy by the females so that if Sekoti were to defeat their Pretty Boy and become their new king, he would spare their cubs knowing that they are his. Pretty Boy sensed the betrayal and tried in vain to defend his territory. Sekoti was relentless. He kept coming. And his Renegades were growing up fast, becoming bigger males that could fight. It became too crowded and dangerous for Pretty Boy, who has since lost one of his crucial canines.

In August this year, Sekoti made another daring move and display of aggression when he fought his old uncle, Torn Nose. Sekoti stole a female from his uncle and left him with bruises all over his face. It was a clear message to the kingdom that Sekoti was no longer just a snip tail cub but a big lion in his prime. King Sekekama steered away from the path of his rising son and did not wander beyond Leopard Rock. Many were salivating for this encounter but both lions, amazingly, avoided one another. Sekekama did not do like Torn Nose who kept encroaching into Sekoti’s space around Leopard Rock.

Sekoti’s success against uncle, Torn Nose, gave him the confidence to go back again to challenge Pretty Boy. And he was now armed with the Renegades. They found a territory up for grabs as Pretty Boy decided to flee. Sekoti announced his arrival by brutally attacking one of the young cubs in the north and breaking its back. The message was loud and clear, “Sekoti is king”.

Although Sekoti seems to have successfully taken over the territory, he has not been introduced to the rest of the Northern Pride yet. He has proven to be as violent as his father and it is too dangerous to introduce such a brutal lion when you have cubs. The females are now managing Sekoti going into heat by design to keep him away from the pride, at least for now. Meanwhile, as Sekoti is being crowned the King of the North, there is discontentment amongst his Renegade Boys. The chief renegade, Waziba who is the elder to the Renegades, is showing some disloyalty and positioning himself for a coup against Sekoti. Waziba, at four and half years (just six months older than his mates), is growing fast and showing great qualities of a leader. The guides have reported that he has started leading successful hunts, even though all the glory goes to Sekoti. Waziba reportedly also sneaks up to the females sometimes when Sekoti is not watching.

Sekoti turns six next month and the guides are saying maybe his birthday present will finally be a meeting with his new northern pride. If it happens, it would mark Sekoti’s inauguration as the undisputed King of the North. To lead a pride is a coveted ultimate triumph for any male lion.

For Sekoti, it is a fairytale to have risen from being a lone struggling male to a king with a pride of his own in the savage kingdom. He fought big battles to be where he is now and surely many more bloody battles and betrayals are lying ahead. But for now, he sleeps like the man of the house because he is indeed King of the North.

Unbothered: Sekoti sleeping with a female PIC:THALEFANG CHARLES
Unbothered: Sekoti sleeping with a female PIC:THALEFANG CHARLES

*Thalefang Charles was on Shell’s #BetterJourneysDrive testing its new DYNAFLEX technology with Micheal ‘Dignash’ Morapedi

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