“Respect One Another as a Brother of Sister. Live in Harmony. Accept and Tolerate each other to live a peaceful life.” – Prince Ishwar Ramlutchman Mabheka Zulu

The famous novelist F Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote “The Great Gatsby,” once commented to Ernest Hemingway, “the rich are different from you and me.” He meant it pejoratively. 

He meant it negatively. To Fitzgerald, the wealthy led a life of privilege, of indulgence, and of selfishness. 

If Fitzgerald was right about the rich generally, he was most certainly wrong about Ishwar Ramlutchman. If I can paraphrase Fitzgerald, Ishwar is not different from you and me, he is different from all the other rich. 

In Fitzgerald’s world, the wealthy are self-indulgent. In Ishwar’s world, he cares about every human being. In Fitzgerald’s world, the wealthy are devoid of values. 

In Ishwar’s world, what matters most is his boundless commitment to serve the less privileged. I have had the privilege to witness first-hand the values of Ishwar and they are commendable. 

They begin and end with a commitment to placing the needs of others above his, values that Fitzgerald would not recognize as attributes of the wealthy, but values nonetheless that make Ishwar such a truly unique and transformational human being.

Equally significant, the dictum that people of exceptional leaders, intellectual and spiritual power are ahead of their time rings true for Ishwar Ramlutchman. Ishwar`s commitment to promotion of social cohesion, nature conversation and respect for everyone’s cultural heritage and religion has earned him the reverence and great respect of so many people. 

Ishwar is not only known for his entrepreneurial acumen, but also his philanthropy on a grand scale. He belongs in the highest ranks of that exclusive coterie. 

Ishwar’s boundless giving has touched so many lives. Ishwar is a philanthropist in the true sense of the word – one who makes an active effort to promote human welfare or show goodwill to fellow members of humanity. 

Ishwar’s lifelong commitment to giving manifests itself in his generosity. His passion for philanthropy defines his career. With philanthropy, Ishwar believes he can make a difference in the world. 

Make the lives of at least some people better. Inspired and determined to help others, Ishwar is a vehicle to provide opportunity to communities where none exist.
There are very few people in this world who genuinely care for others and see others without expecting or demanding anything in return, Ishwar Ramlutchman Prince Mabheka Zulu is a classic example of that person. 

He is always willing to serve others and his community. His warmth and love of mankind radiate the length and breadth of the province. 

An astute and passionate supporter of many worthy causes, particularly the arts, Ishwar is also firmly committed to the mental health by promoting the practice of Yoga. He is renowned for his compassion and generosity and is universally admired for his tireless philanthropic works. 

In describing Mr Ishwar Ramlutchman, I would like to borrow the words of Paul Dudley White, which

 he said to pay tribute to his distinguished cardiologist deceased friend, Richard Cabot:
In every generation there are restless souls who cannot be made to fit the common mould. 

A few of these are valuable in keeping their communities and professions in a ferment by their constant challenge to the existing order of man’s thought and action. But when, in addition to possessing these attributes, a rare individual is endowed with the divine fire and makes important contributions to the pioneering progress of humanity, then indeed we recognize a great leader. 

In the thick of the fray such recognition comes slowly but as soon as the smoke of the battle clears the acclaim is universal.
Always answering the call to serve, Mr Ramlutchman is renowned for devoting almost his personal life to philanthropy. I call him a quiet revolutionary, who always works in the absence of any pretence or desire for recognition, driven instead by an exceptional curiosity, generosity, and unassuming commitment to hard work. Mr Ramlutchman humanitarian impulse is best described by the Irish American businessman, Charles Francis Feeney, who was the CEO of the Duty Free Shoppers (DFS Group), which is the world’s largest luxury goods retailer, who famously said:

 “I cannot think of a more personally rewarding and appropriate use of wealth,” he wrote, “than to give while one is living — to personally devote oneself to meaningful efforts to improve the human condition.

” Indeed, Ishwar strongly believes in the improvability of the human condition.”
Ishwar is a very secure, self-confident man. He knows how to be a firm, fair, focused leader, but he also knows how to be a cooperative, supportive follower. 

He was a man of principles and integrity who stands firmly and speaks articulately in support of his belief. He takes charge of a situation that threatens to run out-of-control. 

Ishwar is a generous and giving man. 

The late His Majesty King Zwelithini Ka-Bhekuzulu was often blessed by his spontaneous generosity. Ishwar is a special leader; *Small but Great in Stature *Intellectual yet Spiritual * Strong yet Gentle  *Possesses Integrity and Compassion *Is Generous yet Accountable *Achieves greatly yet remained humble *Is Loving and Much Loved
I use these seven combinations of attributes of Ishwar because seven (7) is a Biblical-theological and heavenly number.


Ishwar Ramlutchman is a plain-spoken, self-made success with refined tastes, an outsized personality, a quick wit, and an unceasing desire to share his riches. is a compassionate, kind and giving person He never went to college or university but spends some of the little he amasses from his company, AC Industrial, helping poor households. 

He also funds tuitions for students from poor financial backgrounds because he sees education as a transformative tool that young people could use to make a mark on the world. Indeed, he sees education as a way for students to follow their dreams. 

I am tempted to assume that Ishwar is moulded by the conviction that ignorance is synonymous with poverty and that to abolish poverty education must reach the poor.
Unlike the businessman I once read about who used to say, “I don’t have a heart of gold; I deal in platinum,” Ishwar has a heart of gold. He is a true gentleman, a term that sometimes today is thrown around too loosely. 

A gentleman is one that cares, shows respect, has a huge heart and is always thinking of the other individual. He exemplifies all these characteristics. Ishwar takes joy in being with all people. He treats all people the same. 

Indeed, it’s one thing to have a great ability to help through philanthropy, but it’s another thing to be a person who just engages and loves everything about it through and through.

 Many lives have been enriched with Ishwar’s generosity and love. Ishwar believes in the philosophy of giving it away while he is still alive so that he can see the joy on people’s faces.

 Though he does not live ostentatiously, like any individual of pronounced passions, Ishwar has his quirks. He has an untrammelled passion for cars.

The poor and the homeless are all of Ishwar’s concern. His philanthropies are devoted to helping people to help themselves. He has a profound sense of the dignity and worth of the individual human person which colours his social thought and efforts.


It is also unfortunate that after twenty-nine years of democracy, South Africans of different racial groupings are still grappling to come together and celebrate their diversity. 

The majority from the black communities strongly argue that even the reconciliation process that was started by President Nelson Mandela is not reciprocated, as it should be, by the other race groups, including the Indian community. They say that it is only black people who reach out. 

The other racial groups are still cocooned in their shells. Despite the increasing salience of the term social cohesion in policy circles, there is little clarity on its meaning as scholars so far have not been able to reach agreement on a definition.

 Judith Maxwell’s lecture paper entitled: “Social dimensions of economic growth” for example, defines social cohesion as “building shared values and communities of interpretation, reducing disparities in wealth and income, and generally enabling people to have that they are engaged in a common enterprise, facing shared challenges, and that they are members of the same community.

” The road to social cohesion, like the road to freedom, will not be easy. The road to social cohesion is full of thorns and thistles but it must be traversed. It is a road that is precariously bumpy – given the diverse racial and cultural backgrounds that our society comes from. Social cohesion is a process not an event. It is not something that one can suddenly wake up to tomorrow morning and point to. 

It is not a process that should neither be fast tracked nor forcibly forced down peoples’ throats. 

The quest for social cohesion is a national imperative and should be driven with vigour and vitality that is reminiscent of the energy that went into the pulverization of the Apartheid system. And for social cohesion to succeed, it must be pursued with the patience of an angel. 

There are several projects that could be undertaken to promote social cohesion and nation-building. Platforms need to be provided for serious interactions among racial groups. It is such platforms that would help to engender social cohesion and nation building. Sport, arguably the most successful platform so far in uniting people across racial lines, has proven to be the catalyst for social cohesion, nation building and reconciliation. 

When athletes from different racial groups compete and their fans support them, there emerges a bond that can be understood only with reference to the idea of a nation. Indeed, the inherently competitive nature of sport can transform total strangers into a unified collective.

UNESCO’s approach to sport is worth mentioning. According to UNESCO’s charter, sport “should seek to promote closer communion between peoples and between individuals, together with disinterested emulation, solidarity and fraternity, mutual respect and understanding, and full respect for the integrity and dignity of human beings.

” The promotion of nation-building and social cohesion is central to this approach. Sporting codes in this country should be encouraged to play a pivotal role towards social cohesion, and they could do this by initiating sustainable sporting programmes. 

Cricket, favourite sport for most of the Indian community, for example, could make available 1000 free tickets to black youths to watch a cricket match. 

The same should apply to soccer. It behooves the South African government to invest more in sports because participation in sports can serve to break down stereotype, transform negative attitudes about ‘the others’, and empower communities to create a more homogeneous and less conflict-prone society. Equally important, the nation building vision should be backed up by the private-public-partnership, the PPP model. Indian business must work closer with African business, with local government, municipalities, provincial government in these social cohesion initiatives.

 Communities needing development must roll up their sleeves and play a role. We need models and compelling pilot projects to set the agenda rolling. 

Visible new development along the heritage lines would go a long way to dispel suspicion, mistrust, alienation, intolerance, and prejudice. 

Heritage is about nation-building, and this is best captured by the South African National Heritage Resources Act of 1999 which states in its preamble that: Our heritage …. contributes to redressing past inequities and…facilitates healing…” “Indeed, heritage is the cornerstone of the edifice in nation building.

 Indeed, to sustain the social cohesion, the South African Government and South African society at large need to initiate projects to further promote a spirit of inclusivity and sense of belonging. In his 13 February 2003 State of the Province Address, former Premier the Honourable Mr JS Ndebele, whom I call “Mr Heritage,” put it aptly when he said the province's natural endowment or heritage is only an advantage and bankable asset once its people take advantage of it. 

Ishwar Ramlutchman has certainly taken advantage of the province’s heritage to foster social cohesion. Ishwar Ramlutcham, who is a Hindu and South Africa’s Indian origin must indeed be commended for always pushing the crusade of social cohesion by way either staging the Diwali celebrations at the royal palace, and by his attendance to all Zulu heritage and cultural activities. A true champion of unity in cultural diversity. Indeed, Prince Mabheka is a frequent sight at royal events and functions, as well as at the province’s heritage and cultural events. His championing of the practice of Yoga meditation among all racial groups of KwaZulu-Natal is also a tacit demonstration of social cohesion at its best.


Ishwar Ramlutchman was born in Kwa-Dukuza, lot 14, on the 08th of February 1976, at the Stanger Hospital. Both his parents Chintha and Ramlutchman Kissoon were poor. He is the 3rd of 7 children. Whilst growing up, he faced tremendous challenges, but the blessings of his parents have always been upon him. Sadly, Ishwar’s dad passed away at the age of 39 whilst Ishwar was in matric. His mother could not afford to send him for tertiary education, and he immediately went out looking for work to help support the rest of the family. 

He was fortunate to find employment at Tony Motor Spares (Mtubatuba – 1994) and later at Pipetec (Empangeni – 1995). In 1998, he was retrenched and needed to earn a living. He went to the late Sri Swami Sahajananda who was his spiritual master and mentioned that he wanted to start his own business. He was advised that he “should do everything correctly and success would be his. 

He picked himself by his bootstraps, migrated to the industrial hub of Empangeni and Richards Bay and learnt technical skills, metal work, welding, and engineering – hence the birth of his lucrative business, AC Industrial.

When Ishwar started AC Industrial, he had no premises, transport, or finances. He is always grateful to his supportive friends because it was through their kind assistance that he was able to make AC Industrial a reality. Without his staff and their collective hard work, KZN AC would not have been where it is today. Ishwar honours and pays tribute to all his staff members. They are the pillars of AC Industrial. He says that he also quite fortunate that all his staff come from a spiritual background.

Ishwar always pays tribute and offers his gratitude to his Beloved Master’s, Sri Swami Sivananda and Sri Swami Sahajananda for having blessed him with the golden opportunities in life to Serve Mankind and to Strive for the highest in life. During AC Industrial’s existence, he has received awards and compliments which he dedicates to his Beloved Master’s, Sri Swami Sivananda and Sri Swami Sahajananda. Without their Divine Grace none of this would be possible.

 Ishwar strongly believes that everything happens by the will of God. Ishwar has worked with His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini Ka-BhekuZulu, The President Jacob Zuma, Dr Lionel Mtshali, Mr Sibusiso Ndebele and Mrs Ndebele, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Mayors of Uthungulu, Umhlathuze and Umkhanyakude, among others, in serving the poorest of the poor in KZN through their partnerships. Ishwar believes in the common motto of “service to mankind is worship of God.”

 He also has had the opportunity to work with the Consul General of India.
One of Ishwar’s priorities is to improve water and sanitation services to previously disadvantaged communities in consultation and collaboration with both the authorities and communities. 

He focusses more on rural areas to ensure that we do away with the situation where children and women need to walk long distances to dams and rivers to fetch water for their households. Ishwar’s eternal gratitude and heartfelt thanks goes to his Beloved Masters, Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujva Swami Sahajananda for all their guidance and inspiration. Ishwar lives to emulate the teachings of his Divine Master Sri Swami Sivananda, given to him in the following words:To see God in all names and forms.To serve the poor and needy, seeing God in them. 

To relieve the pains, sorrows, and sufferings of others. To share what you have with others. To be a cosmic friend and a cosmic benefactor, a friend of the poor, the forlorn, the helpless and the fallen, is my creed.”

Speaking about his upbringing, Ishwar poignantly points out that “in this long, trying, frustrating and painful though peaceful journey, I have learnt that poverty and the poorest of poor in all communities is not a bridge too far for me to cross. ’Life was difficult and challenging in this poor community, but the struggles they experienced didn’t breed animosity or racial tension. “Poverty was the common denominator that galvanised a sense of unity among an add blending of Zulu-speaking African and Indian neighbours. 

We co-existed in harmony, peace, and respect.”Ishwar also made his pilgrimage to the shrine of his spiritual masters and mentors – Swami Sivananda and Swami Sahajananda at the Divine Life Society: ‘’My spiritual gurus taught me many values, principles, and ethics of which humility, as a hallmark of a human being, was paramount. Service to mankind is service to God.” In this long journey, he says he was humbled when he was introduced to President Nelson Mandela and remains grateful to his family.

In a rare recognition of his unheralded and long-standing community service, philanthropy, and bridge-building role-playing – three USA-based institutions – Los Angeles, LADC and IOA – conferred on him the honorary degrees on behalf of the National Congregational School of Theology and the Development Church. According to Ishwar, “these honorary academic awards have spurred me on to redouble my efforts to promote social cohesion, race relations, cultural heritage and intra-cultural celebrations and commemorations between the Zulu, Indian and other communities to build new bridges.”

Prince Mabheka has become instrumental in rebuilding fractured lives of the poorly served people. Through numerous food, clothing, libraries, community halls, wheelchair distribution programmes, including the sponsorship of bursaries for underprivileged children, Mabheka has made big difference in the lives of my people. In a country with a history of violence, it is commendable that Ramlutchman has erected many temples and churches to promote culture and belief in spirituality. He has built low-cost homes for destitute families, provided water and sanitation for needy communities. As a one of KZN’s quiet philanthropist, Ishwar’s impact is beyond measure. His impactful generosity to the lives of others and will, no doubt, be remembered in perpetuity long after his earthly days had come to an end.


On 18 March 2023 at the Radisson Blue Hotel in the Umhlanga CBD a book on Ishwar that was researched and written by the great and erudite Professor Jabulani Maphalala was launched. The book is entitled: Ishwar Ramlutchman Mabheka Zulu- Beyond Dreams – The Man – The Nation – The World. Ramlutchman said the book project was mooted in 2020 when King Zwelithini was alive and presented his ‘’son’’ with honorary degrees from institutions in the USA. The book focuses on the long journey of Ramlutchman, his rags to riches storyline, business entrepreneurship, links to the Sivananda socio-religious movement and successive swamis, his close relations with King Goodwill Zwelithini, contribution to charitable and welfare organisations and the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin.


Ishwar is the first Indian to be honoured with the highest form of recognition by the Zulu monarch, Richards Bay Philanthropist Ishwar Ramlutchman has been given a Zulu name and appointed to be part of the Zulu Royal regiment by His Majesty King Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu .

King Goodwill Zwelithini Ka-Bhekuzulu praised Ramlutchman for his extensive community service and presented him with the name “Prince Ishwar Ramlutchman Mabheka Zulu” as a full member of iziNyosi regiment and adopted him as a son to the royal family and the Zulu Royal Monarch. 

Mabheka is the only Indian origin person to have received the Zulu Royal Orders from the Zulu Monarch . Mabheka can be loosely translated as “the one who looks after my people,” or the one who cares for the people.

 Ishwar was given this name for his steadfast dedication and achievement in serving the poor and the poorest in the kingdom of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal. By bestowing the highest honour, His Majesty King Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu felt that it was important to recognize Ishwar’s good deeds whilst he is still aliveOver the years, Ishwar has become part of their family. Ishwar’s enthusiasm for our Zulu culture is contagious, and the scope of his philanthropy is extraordinary.

” His philanthropic endeavours include support of the preservation of Zulu culture. 

Ishwar unabashedly loves the Zulu people and their culture. He loves and lives Zulu culture with every fibre of his being and contributes heavily to that world his significant philanthropic work. He gives wholeheartedly. His attitude toward helping others was inspiring. 

“Giving back – of his time and resources – is just something he does automatically and instinctively. It is a deeply ingrained part of who he is. Not only has he always attended all royal functions with his elegance, grace, and dignity, but he also consistently provides both moral and financial support for them to be held in a stature that befit royalty. 

Through his generous philanthropic contributions and his passionate service to others. Indeed, Ishwar is known across the length and breadth of the province for his generosity and vision.Despite being one of a few individuals who were considered close to the late AmaZulu King Zwelithini ka-BhekuZulu, Ishwar Ramlutchman has managed to keep a low profile and has not opened about losing the man he called his father. Speaking about his friendship with King Zwelithini, which spans over 20 years, Ramlutchman says the passing of the AmaZulu king dealt a heavy blow to their plans of transforming rural areas into thriving economies through agricultural investment. He further says he will forever cherish the great memories he shared with His Majesty. 

I can attest that Ishwar and His Majesty King Zwelithini were very close. The King was a fatherly figure to Mabheka.
Prince Mabheka has committed not to abandon the work was started by the late King Zwelithini Ka-BhekuZulu of ensuring peaceful existence between Indians and AmaZulu nation. He is looking forward to continuing working with the Monarch and the Zulu Royal Family on community projects and preservation of culture.


A cultured man of generous sympathies and broad human interests, I am always amazed at how modest Ishwar is. A doctor, or a bus driver, Ishwar treats them all exactly the say way, attentively listens to them the same way, pays attention to the little details. And it always amazes, every time. Simplicity and honesty, qualities that are given to the truly great. His philanthropic activity, some of which I have witnessed many times, is no less important to him than his business activity.

 Sometimes I feel as if the entrepreneurial businessman in him was destined to serve the great donor he is. The warmth of his heart, the clarity of his thinking and the decisiveness of his actions are truly exceptional. I still remember vividly that in difficult times for His Majesty King Zwelithini Ka-BhekuZulu, I would call Ishwar for help, and he would graciously assist in cash and in kind. His Majesty King Zwelithini loved Ishwar like his own son. Indeed, Ishwar’s character and philanthropic generosity are his great name. 

He is a generous benefactor of charitable causes and a strong supporter of Zulu culture. He has quietly changed countless lives through his enormous philanthropy. A businessman and philanthropist who funds a school, and countless other causes. It is worth repeating, his philanthropic generosity has changed countless lives. He is a selfless and philanthropic as anyone I have ever met. He is a hero.I have known Ishwar for more than twenty years. I met him through His Majesty King Zwelithini Ka-BhekuZulu. It is his leadership and generosity that stand out the most for me. 

There is no greater example of this than serving his community with distinction. He is an entrepreneur who believes deeply in Zulu culture and feels a responsibility to use the fruits of his work to do what he believes is necessary to help keep those things alive for others. The more I have gotten to know Ishwar – his self-effacing demeanour, his foibles, flaws, habits, humour – the more, not less, of a hero and an icon he has become to me. What becomes an icon most? The Swiss psychiatrist and psychologist, Carl Jung, said that “Icons are visible but disguised tracks” of eternal ideas converted into three dimensions – external expressions of internal convictions.

The strength of Ishwar’s commitment, or the generosity of his spirit makes me to always hold him in reverence and great respect. He always expresses humility in everything he does. He is a man who always does the right thing no matter the personal cost. Ishwar lives and breathes philanthropy for all of humanity. A consummate philanthropist who works so zealously and sacrificially to serve the people without expecting to have his palms greased. Ishwar, a man of remarkable evenness of temper, of uninterrupted tranquillity of mind, and undisturbed domestic happiness. Indefatigable in all offices of friendship, who advises with sincerity, admonishes with freedom, and acts with zeal. A man who enjoys his labour for she shares it with the poor.


In May 2008, Mr Ishwar Ramlutchman launched the Sivananda World Peace Foundation. The primary aim of the Sivananda World Peace Foundation is the sponsorship and installation of the Sivananda Peace Pillars heritage monuments dedicated to Sri Swami Sivananda. It is also to further promote Swami Sivananda and his message of Peace and Unity via various community projects like: 

1. Youth Development and Skills Training 

2. Feeding Programs at schools 

3. Walking sticks for the elderly 

4. Agricultural Programs like the Micro Self Sufficient and Hydroponic Tunnel farming in the Zululand area 

5. Promoting Culture by assisting poor communities to build temples and prayer/community halls in the name of Swami Sivananda 

6. To help socially and economically disadvantaged children to continue their studies by providing financial support by way of the Swami Sivananda Memorial Scholarship.


The South African Indian-origin philanthropist and businessman, Ishwar Ramlutchman, also constructed a triple monument as a mark of respect to the former South African president Nelson Mandela, the late Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini Ka-BhekuZulu and spiritual leader Swami Sivananda.

  When asked by why this monument, Prince Mabheka Zulu said that he had been associated with the Zulu monarch and the Zulu nation since he was twenty years old.

 He was touched by the simplicity and the contribution of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini Ka-Bhekuzulu and Dr Nelson Mandela. He therefore decided to honour them by commissioning this monument of peace in honour of them. Ramlutchman says he was humbled when Dalai Lama gave his unconditional support for this project.


Ishwar Ramlutchman, adopted son of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini ka-BhekuZulu and christened by the Zulu monarch as Prince Mabheka Zulu, and a renowned philanthropist constructed three Sivananda Peace Pillars – in memory of his Hindu spiritual guru and mentor – and to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the indentured labourers in 2010 – who made up the second batch of semi-slave workers from India that landed in Durban on board the SS Belvedere on 25 November 1860. 

The peace pillars have become a tourist attraction in the Belvedere township. 

Ishwar made a commitment to the late Swami Sahajananda, his beloved Swamiji (Guru), to undertake the installation of eight Sivananda Peace Pillar’s across Africa. The Sivananda Peace Pillars are a beacon of unity in diversity. The first of eight pillars, contains inscriptions from the world’s major religions and is the first in a country wide project. 

This Pillar demonstrates the universality of all world religions when it comes to promoting peace and harmony in our country. The Sivananda Peace Pillar will be a source of inspiration. It reminds us that peace and love must transcend our human limitations that is so prevalent in our society today. Ramlutchman installed 19 Sivananda Peace Pillars across the province of KwaZulu -Natal.


 Ishwar Ramlutchman, a man of little-known but outsized consequence who profoundly loves his country and province has certainly made a difference in some people’s lives. 

Indeed, his servant leadership and compassionate contributions have touched so many. 

A workhorse, not a flamethrower, but withal someone who enjoys life and imparts that enjoyment to others.
By all accounts, Ishwar Ramlutcham Prince Mabheka, is a personable, foresighted, deliberate, driven, and above all, generous with his time as well as with his fortune.Prince Mabheka Zulu’s life story will go down in the history of South Africa and be remembered as a first ever Zulu Indian Prince to be adopted by His Majesty, King Zwelithini Goodwill Ka-BhekuZulu. He has made life better for many people. 

In so doing, he, as always, taking one of the renowned Canadian physician Sir William Osler’s principles to heart, “we are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from life.”

Dr Vusi Shongwe


KwaZulu-Natal Province

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