Mkhuluwe Protas Cele fondly known as “Zihlahla Zemithi” was born on 6 November 1935, in Durban. He is an expert traditional healer and famous as an inyanga who has particular and specialised knowledge on paediatric remedies.
He has done remarkable work on the conservation of indigenous plants used for medicines. Cele actively encourages healers to cultivate their own indigenous gardens and plant nurseries for medical ingredients.
His most significant contribution, however, has been in his specialized knowledge of the treatments required by children under the medical system of indigenous healing. In this field he is acknowledged as a national figure of authority, which is also reflected in his role on the boards of different professional bodies for Traditional Healers. He actively encourages other healers to develop the professional standing of their medical practice by working together with university researchers in order to record and document the various ways in which traditional medicines are used.
Mkhuluwe Cele has played an active part in making other healers aware of the need to conserve plants used in healing, as these will not always be available in the wild. He has established a number of nurseries for threatened species used for healing. His greatest concern is the diminishing stocks of traditional medicinal plants used for healing, due to the fact that they are often slow-growing and are being harvested at an unsustainable rate in the wild.
Cele has therefore taken on a leadership role in the field of conservation, in order to educate communities of the need to grow their own medicinal plants and take care of the stocks which occur in the wild.
Mkhuluwe Cele lives in Umlazi south of Durban and remains actively involved in training of healers as well as academic research on the properties of various traditional remedies.