In memory of our Board Chairperson – Dr Thulani John Mbuli (27 January 1975 – 9 July 2020)

The National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC) an agency of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, mourns the sudden passing of Dr Thulani Mbuli, Chairperson of the board who departed on Thursday, 09 July 2020.

Dr Mbuli served as Chairperson of the NHC Board since 2017 and has diligently led the board with integrity and open-mindedness. His passion and enthusiasm in the heritage, culture and arts of South Africa, was visible through his work and various leadership positions he had held at PanSALB, Zulu Kingdom, Workers’ College and many others. Under his leadership, the NHC received a clean audit report and saw an escalation of many key projects .i.e. admission of the NHC as the first organisation in Africa to become a member of the Global Public Diplomacy Network based in Qatar. Dr Mbuli was part of the advisory Council to the King Goodwill “Ungagezwe Lakhe” Zwelithini, owing to his respect for African culture.

“The entire board and staff of the NHC will solemnly miss his leadership and jovial personality. Dr Mbuli was an academic and soldier that immensely contributed to the Council’s vision and the heritage sector as a whole” said Adv. Sonwabile Mancotywa, Chief Executive of the NHC.

The NHC extends heartfelt condolences to the Mbuli family.

Due to the Corona Virus pandemic lockdown regulations in South Africa, a virtual memorial, for the late Dr Mbuli was held on Wednesday, 15 July. An edited version of the memorial service can be viewed on the NHC YouTube channel: @NationalHeritageCouncilSouthAfrica.


Dr Mbuli was laid to rest at his home in Northern Kwazulu Natal, Paulpietersburg on Saturday, 18 July 2020 – a day that coincided with the international Nelson Mandela Day which celebrates the legacy of the global icon who was the country’s first democratically elected President.

A heart-warming message sent after the funeral from the family, Sabelo Mbuli the Brother, to the NHC read “on behalf of the entire Mbuli Family, we would like to pass our heartfelt gratitude to the NHC for helping us to put up such a dignified memorial and funeral service for our beloved departed Brother Thulani John (PhD). Adv. Sonwabile Mancotywa visited our family last week and Prof. Thenjiwe Meyiwa delivered a heart-warming video tribute on the occasion of the funeral service. For this we thank you dearly, God bless you always”

Another interest of his was to contribute to the memorialisation of the role of women in African Royalty. He was working closely with the Zulu Kingdom on the Emakhosini which is a spiritual memorial site where 8 Kings and 28 Queens are buried.

Reyhana Gani, a Council Member, sited what stood out for her about the late Chairperson as “his integrity, fairness and diplomacy with which he led the board meetings. Also his inclusive approach in making each person feel special and important”.

In his vote of thanks, Mr Puleng Tsebe, one of the Council Board Members said “Through him we saw Ubuntu, the value of human beings and their spiritual life. We never thought we would need that ability to connect spiritually so soon”.

Lala Ngoxolo Makhunga Indolothi engadliwa Nanzinja




YouTube memorial service-


Speech of Hon. Minister Nathi Mthethwa –

Speech – vote of Thanks by Mr Puleng Tsebe-



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