Will the Zulu monarch now become Dr King? Honorary degree causes a royal stir
Former UniZul academic Musa Xulu‚ who is now a businessman‚ said: "The University of Zululand‚ probably one of the most confused universities this side of the equator‚ if not in the world‚ has decided to honour our King with an Honorary Doctorate. An Honorary Doctorate is an Honoris Causa offered by the University through the Senate‚ which is the highest academic decision making body at a university."
King Goodwill Zwelithini has arrived at the University of Zululand‚ where he will be conferred with an honorary doctorate in social work.
The honour is in recognition of King Zwelithini's outstanding role in the social welfare of rural communities and the fight against HIV/Aids. It has been questioned by academics and the community‚ as the university attempts to obtain the title deeds for the land on which it is built.
The Ingonyama Trust‚ which administers 2.8-million hectares of land in KwaZulu-Natal on behalf of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini‚ is working with local Inkosi Mandla Mkhwanazi‚ to transfer the land to the university.
He said the university had previously honoured the king in 1994 with an honorary degree in agriculture.
"Now‚ how does an institution honour the same person with Honoris Causa twice? This is not a PhD and does not come from departments. Something is not right here. If newspaper reports‚ especially from City Press are to be trusted‚ and there is no reason not to believe‚ then the University of Zululand is planning something quite bad‚ and wants to drag our King into it. No, we shall protect the dignity of our King. I rule that the HC graduation for our King at UniZul tomorrow is extremely unacademic. Prove me wrong."
The Zulu monarch is accompanied by Queen Thandi MaNdlovu‚ Queen Zola KaMafu as well as several members of the Zulu royal family.
Deputy President David Mabuza is expected to deliver the keynote address‚ while the king will also address the dignitaries and audience after receiving his doctorate.
University officials did not immediately respond to queries.