King Goodwill Zwelithini hosted Diwali celebrations at his Ondini palace at Ulundi in northern KwaZulu-Natal. More than 200 Indians graced the palace as part of the celebration. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)
Ulundi - King Goodwill Zwelithini called on South Africans to unite as the country battled through hard times as his Zulu Royal Palace in Ulundi hosted Diwali celebrations on Saturday. 

It was the fifth year that the Zulu king marked Diwali celebrations at his royal palace. 

More than 200 Indians graced the celebrations at the Ondini Royal Palace in Ulundi. 

In a bid to promote unity, Ishwar Ramlutchman, who is also known as 'Prince Mabheka Zulu' - a name ordained to him by the king, administered the celebrations through the  Sivanda World Peace Foundation, which promotes unity and diversity.

The king said the Diwali celebrations at the royal palace were not about sending a message of tolerance, but a message of acceptance.

"We are demonstrating that we have accepted each other and we are celebrating brightness over darkness," he said.

The king expressed concern about crime, unemployment and violence against women and children in the country.

"I will not tolerate rape and killing of women. Abduction and trafficking of children is also a worrying factor, so please pay attention and listen to your children," he told the audience.

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi said the celebrations were 'much needed' in the country, which he described as a troubled country.

"Diwali is a celebration of light, so by celebrating it we also aknowledge that there will be light regardless of what we are facing as a country," Buthelezi said.

Buthelezi thanked King Zwelithini for leading the nation in the right direction by uniting different cultures and races.

Sunday Tribune