Johannesburg, Jan 29 (PTI) Indians and Zulus should pool in their talents to make the province of Kwazulu-Natal, home to about two thirds of South Africa’s 1.4 million people of Indian-origin, a better place for its citizens, King Goodwill Zwelithini has said.

The King of the Zulu nation, the largest indigenous ethnic group in South Africa, numbering some 11 million, said this while visiting for the first time the India House on Saturday, the official residence of the Indian Consul General in Durban.

King Zwelithini, 68, emphasised that Indians and Zulus could use their respective talents together to make the province more progressive.

About two thirds of South Africa’s 1.4 million citizens of Indian-origin live in KwaZulu-Natal province.

High Commissioner Ruchi Ghanashyam was accompanied by Deputy High Commissioner S Janakiraman, Shashank Vikram, Consul General of India in Durban, K J Srinivasa, Consul General of India in Johannesburg and SKS Rawat from the Consulate of India in Durban.

The King was accompanied by Queen Buhle KaMathe Zulu and South African Indian businessman and philanthropist Ishwar Ramlutchman, who has been anointed as a Prince of the Zulu nation by Zwelithini for the work he has been undertaking in that community.

Several issues came under discussion in the hour-long discussion between the parties, including bilateral relations between India and South Africa; skills development, cooperation in agriculture, combating drought in South Africa, solar energy, strategies to combat HIV/AIDs, rural women empowerment and livestock development in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Ghanashyam also briefed the King on the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme by the Government of India for students, which offers several technical training programmes in India, including in the fields of agriculture, rural entrepreneurship development and IT.

Thousands of students from all over South Africa have benefited from the programme since relations between India and South Africa were resumed when Nelson Mandela became the country’s first democratically-elected president, following a break in diplomatic ties of nearly four decades because of apartheid.

“It was a great honour to have His Majesty the King visit India House in Durban with the Queen,” Ghanashyam told PTI.

“To mark His Majesty the King’s first ever visit to India House, His Majesty the King planted a mango sapling at India House.”

Mangos, now a popular summer crop in the province, are believed to have been brought into the country by the first Indian settlers who arrived as indentured labourers for the sugar cane plantations in 1860.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.