Premier Sibusiso Ndebele has been honoured for preserving KwaZulu-Natal's heritage and culture.
The Zondi clan and Inkosi Mbongeleni Zondi lauded Ndebele for honouring Bhambatha Zondi, who led the poll tax uprising in 1906.
ANC president Jacob Zuma was also honoured.
The ceremony drew scores of people to the village of eNgome, outside Greytown.
In 1906, the colonial government of Natal imposed a poll tax on all African men in the province to relieve the crippling costs of the Anglo-Boer War of 1899 to 1902.
In 2006 Ndebele's government commemorated the centenary of the poll tax uprising in a year-long celebration that formed part of the premier's initiative to recognise the past and use the heritage that it provided to normalise society and foster social cohesion.
Ndebele said that he was humbled by the honour.
"It is with humility and pride that we accept this honour by Inkosi Mbongeleni Zondi and the Zondi clan who want to take the symbolism of the 2006 reinstatement of Inkosi Bhambatha Zondi forward and make it part of the permanent living memory of our people," said Ndebele.
Zondi said that by honouring Ndebele he was recognising the premier's role in remembering his great-grandfather.
"It is the least we can do to thank him for putting my clan on the provincial map and the country. He worked tirelessly to ensure that the irregularities of the past were corrected and we are happy about that."