Johannesburg – Despite being one of a few individuals who were considered close to the late AmaZulu King Zwelithini kaBhekuZulu, Ishwar Ramlutchman has managed to keep a low profile and had not opened up about losing the man he called his father.

So tight was the bond between the late king and Ramlutchman that he even adopted him as the only person of Indian origin to be accorded the status of the prince of the Ama- Zulu kingdom, giving him the name Prince Mabheka Zulu.Mabheka can be loosely translated as “the one who looks after my people”.

He was subsequently bestowed the responsibility of commanding an ibutho (regiment) called izinyosi (the bees).Speaking to Sunday World about his friendship with King Zwelithini, which he said spanned over 20 years, Ramlutchman said the passing of the AmaZulu king dealt a heavy blow to their plans of transforming rural areas into thriving economies through agricultural investment.

“I will forever cherish the great memories I shared with His Majesty. We were very close, he was like a father I never had. He always encouraged me to ensure that culture is preserved.“I will continue to serve the royal house and be part of the family. We have worked tirelessly to promote rural development through investment in agriculture.“This is his legacy, which should be carried forward.”

Late AmaZulu king’s ally Ishwar Ramlutchman.

He added that he had good relations with the reigning King MisuZulu ka Zwelithini and that he had committed not to abandon the work that had already been started by the late king of ensuring peaceful existence between Indians and AmaZulu nation.

“The late king had recognised that economic injustices between the two races were often the trigger of animosity.”The animosity between the two groupings came to a head during the July looting spree, leading to the death of more than 20 people in what has since been termed the Phoenix massacre.Ramlutchman said plans were at an advanced stage to publish a book about King Zwelithini’s life 

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