Blink and you might miss it, but a former Sultan of Zanzibar makes a quick appearance in Coming 2 America.
The film, which stars Eddie Murphy as a king from the fictional African country of Zamunda, features a photograph of the African royal, whose house has ties to Oman.
In a scene where Lavelle Junson, the newly found son of Murphy’s King Akeem Joffer is tasked with learning more about his royal background, he’s quizzed about past members of the family.
As he’s learning who is who, he’s presented with a black-and-white photograph of a young man sitting on a throne wearing a black bisht with an Omani massar.
In the film, the man is identified as "Hebbe Joffer", a distant relative of King Joffer. In reality, while that isn't actually his name, the man in the photo was indeed a member of a royal family.
Meet Sayyid Ali bin Hamud Al Busaid, the eighth Sultan of Zanzibar, who reigned from 1902 to 1911.
He took over after his father, Hamoud bin Mohammed, died. However, his short tenure as monarch ended after he got ill and he abdicated the throne to his brother-in-law Khalifa bin Harub Al-Said of Zanzibar.
The house of Al Busaid, it turns out, is also part of the House of Al Said, which is the ruling house that Oman’s current Sultan Haitham and former Sultan Qaboos are part of. The Al Saids ruled the Sultanate of Muscat and Zanzibar in the 1850s, and the Sultanate of Zanzibar until the 1960s.
He always wanted to spend his last days in the country of his ancestors and now he is happy he can do that,” a family member in Muscat, who did not want to be identified, said.
Oman and Zanzibar have been intrinsically linked since the African nation fell under Omani rule after the defeat of the Portuguese in 1698. Going further back, the Al Busaids can trace their roots to the Zahran tribe, one of the oldest Arabian tribes who settled in what is now Dibba.