College of Humanities

Honorary Doctorate for AmaZulu Royal Family Member

A member of the AmaZulu Royal family, uMntwana (Prince) Bhekizizwe Zeblon Zulu was recently awarded a Doctor of Literature honorary degree by UKZN for his outstanding contribution to researching and documenting the rich history and cultural celebrations of the AmaZulu nation.

During his speech, presented in isiZulu, he expressed gratitude to everyone who played a role in conferring upon him an honorary doctorate. He also recognised the responsibility that comes with this honour to continue conducting research and documenting the rich history of the Zulu people.

He encouraged community participation in this effort and expressed a desire to collaborate with UKZN in this work. He also shared his personal journey and challenges, and encouraged young people to persevere and strive for success.

Zulu reflected on the life of King Shaka of Senzangakhona, emphasising his early curiosity and drive for success. ‘There are many of us who grew up hard like Prince Shaka. The key lesson is that growing up must not make us lose the drive to do things that are successful.’ He encouraged young graduates to aim high and use their knowledge to change the world.

Zulu is a former member of the democratic National Assembly and a former advisor to the late King Goodwill Zwelithini. He conducted extensive research on the history of the AmaZulu nation and on various cultural celebrations which were revived for modern-day relevance.

He has published four books: Umongo KaZulu (The Marrow of the Nation) in 2005; Inhlendla Yethusi KaZulu (loosely meaning: ‘the royal stick made of copper’) in 2016; IziNdlovukazi ZaKwaZulu (Queens in the Zulu Kingdom), and INkosi UMntwana UZibhebhu KaMaphitha (Prince Zibhebhu of Maphitha).

Together with other members of the royal family, Zulu has worked to revive AmaZulu cultural celebrations, including uMkhosi We Lembe that celebrates King Shaka’s legacy; Isiko Lokushisa Impepho (burning of incense); Umkhosi Wokweshwama (the First Fruit festival), and uMkhosi Womhlanga (the Reed Dance Festival). He conducted research on these ceremonies and revised them for modern-day relevance.