Khumalo’s eldest daughter, Bongi Khumalo-Mtolo, said the death of her father had left the family devastated.
“We have been hit hard because we would have never thought that there were people who disliked my father in this way. My father has never told us about his life being under threat,” said Khumalo-Mtolo.
She said they had learnt many lessons from her father which would now come in handy as they would focus on his legacy.
“He loved people. He was always loving and approachable. He valued education and ensured that we had the best education money could buy,” said Khumalo-Mtolo.
Co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Sihle Zikalala said Khumalo’s death was a huge loss to KwaZulu-Natal.
Long-standing IFP member and Nongoma mayor Albert Mncwango recalled the phone call informing him about Khumalo’s death.
“I was in disbelief when I was informed,” said Mncwango.
Mncwango and Khumalo were among the people who ensured the successful staging of the reed dance after a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus.
Mncwango said he had been reunited with Khumalo, from whom he had often sought advice, after being redeployed to Nongoma.
“He helped change the mindset of youngsters on issues pertaining to education,” said Mncwango.
They had also in the past spoken about the thorny issue of the spike in the murders of traditional leaders and councillors.
“He was always a very forthright person. A yes was a yes and no a no.”
He said Khumalo, who was 76, did not deserve to die such a brutal death. He believed youths were behind the murder
“He died like a criminal. I am inclined to believe that the murderers’ parents may even be here mourning and may not know what their children get up to,” said Mncwango.
Khumalo’s proximity to the Zulu monarch had made him an indispensable asset to the royal family, having worked closely with the late King Goodwill Zwelithini and his successor King Misuzulu Ka Zwelithini.
It was Khumalo’s pleasant disposition, passion for education and his humility that had endeared him to many people, Mncwango said. He described Khumalo as a kind-hearted individual who was always ready to lend a hand.
Taking the podium, Zikalala said: “Death is like an enemy. It’s painful that his life was shattered in the manner in which it was. Whomever was behind his callous killing lacked ubuntu. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family at large.”
He applauded Zulu prime minister Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi for helping to cultivate Khumalo’s love for education.
Zikalala told mourners that national police minister Bheki Cele had acted speedily in deploying a team to find Khumalo’s killers.
He called on anyone with information on the matter to report it to the police.
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