Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has questioned why the University of Zululand has not been renamed after his father‚ Cyprian Bhekuzulu Nyangayezizwe kaSolomon‚ who was instrumental in its development more than 50 years ago.
Delivering his address on Friday‚ after being conferred with an honorary doctorate in social work‚ the Zulu monarch said he was not pleased that it was only the graduation hall that had been named after his father.
“Because of the contribution made by the traditional leadership‚ I don’t believe that there is anyone who can blame me if I ask why was the University of Zululand not renamed after King Bhekuzulu when the names of other tertiary institutions were changed‚ just like the hall that we are in today‚” said King Zwelithini.
Renaming the university after his father would not just mean “inserting his name but will also raise the name of the king who was at the forefront of developing this institution”‚ he said.
“Doing so would be ensuring the good relationship between the university and the institution of traditional leadership. To us‚ as the Zulu royal family‚ it will be a very important milestone because this year we’re celebrating 50 years since King Cyprian Bhekuzulu Nyangayezizwe passed away on September 17‚ 1968‚” he said to loud applause from the audience.
He said his father had taken after his name Bhekuzulu (which means to looking after the Zulu nation) by helping develop the university with the assistance of other amakhosi‚ including Inkatha Freedom Party leader and prime minister of the Zulu nation Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Buthelezi‚ who introduced the king before his address‚ said they had endured “a good deal of opprobrium” when they supported the development of the university.
“At the time‚ it was little more than a few hutments used as lecture halls‚ which had formerly housed soldiers at The Bluff. Some contemptuously called it a ‘tribal college’. But the king encouraged us as amakhosi to use money from our own pockets to develop the University of Zululand. We suffered vilification for doing it‚ but I have no regrets‚” he said.
Buthelezi said the university today equipped the leaders‚ administrators‚ opinion-makers and professionals of tomorrow’s South Africa.”It is a proud institution‚ which makes its decision to honour His Majesty‚ our king‚ all the more significant. His Majesty‚ our king‚ deserves this honour. I am humbled to congratulate him‚” said Buthelezi.
Deputy President David Mabuza‚ who was the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony‚ said the conferral of the honorary doctorate on King Zwelithini was a recognition of the “pioneering work” that he is doing for the betterment of the lives of the people of KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa.
“As government‚ we are pleased that we are recognising the good work of the king while he is with us. In honouring our king‚ we are also paying a special tribute to the generation of brave African warriors who fell in different battles defending our unity and land against those who sought to dehumanise us through oppression and marginalisation.
“In honouring you‚ we are honouring our ancestors who‚ long before us‚ were at the forefront of building unity of our people across the divide of clans. They forged nationhood and instilled in us the values of ubuntu that promoted individual responsibility towards the success of the whole. On a day like this‚ we can only see amakhosi uJama‚ uSenzangakhona‚ uMpande‚ uCetshwayo noDinizulu filled with pride that our nation has been touched with your work‚” said Mabuza.
King Zwelithini was accompanied by all six of his wives‚ some of his children and other members of the Zulu royal family. When he was conferred with the honorary doctorate‚ he was given a standing ovation and there were ululations and shouts of “bayede”‚ a salute reserved for a Zulu king.