The celebration at the palace was the suggestion of businessman Ishwar Ramlutchman who shares shares a close relationship with Zwelithini.The Richard’s Bay businessman was appointed to one of the King’s military regiments and is known as Prince Ishwar Ramlutchman Mabheka Zulu.

Zwelithini has been quoted as saying “To the hundreds of Zulu regiments‚ Ishwar is not an Indian but as they call him he is ‘umfowethu’ (brother) or insizwa enye [remarkable young man] which is a great affirmation that he is one of them.”The King said the honour was bestowed on Ramlutchman because of his efforts at social cohesion‚ respect for everyone’s cultural heritage and religion.

At the time there was uproar from some members of the royal family about Ramlutchman’s new status as the king’s “son” and a “prince”.Ramlutchman‚ who is fluent in isiZulu‚ has embraced Zulu culture and during traditional royal ceremonies always wears traditional Zulu attire complete with ibheshu [cow hide]‚ isicoco [leopard-skin headgear]‚ a shield and a spear

Ramlutchman said Saturday’s Diwali celebration was attended by South Africans of Indian descent from Ladysmith‚ Johannesburg‚ Durban and Richards Bay as well as members of the Khoisan community.

He said Zwelithini had described Diwali as a “unifying force” that must be celebrated by all South Africans.“This is a milestone in the history of the Zulu monarch and our country at large‚” said Ramlutchman.

* The email will not be published on the website.