Meet Ishwar Ramlutchman, South Africa’s only Indian-origin prince who was anointed by an African Zulu king. Born to poor Indian migrants, Ramlutchman couldn’t complete tertiary education but went on to become an entrepreneur and philanthropist.
The 45-year-old Ramlutchman was adopted by the late Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini who gave him the name Mabheka Zulu, meaning ‘the one who cares for the people’ and conferred him with three honorary titles. “Over the years, Mabheka has become an additional member of our family whom I always refer to as ”indodana yethu”, our son.
His commitment and promotion of social cohesion, nature conservation and respect for everyone’s cultural heritage and religion has earned him our respect,” Zwelithini had said. About half of South Africa’s Indian population lives in the KwaZulu-Natal province which falls under the Zulu kingdom where the Zulu royal family still performs many ceremonial duties.
Besides Ramlutchman, Zwelithini had many advisers from the Indian community including businessman Vivian Reddy, who was friends with the monarch for more than 30 years. Ramlutchman, who lives in rural Nongoma, regularly organizes Diwali celebrations at his house with Zulu and Indian artistes.