Rodgers Ngcobo was a father, a husband, a teacher and a business man and a prominent leader of Inanda Community. He worked tirelessly for the development and the improvement of the quality of life of the people of Inanda. He is a role model to a lot of people at Inanda that even today his footsteps are still visible that they keep the new generation asking questions about him. People who know him cannot stop speaking about him and wondering what would Inanda look like if he was still alive.
What did he do?
- Community leader (Inanda Development Committee)
He had the first black owned bottle store at Inanda. The only bottle store that was nearby Inanda at that time was the one in Reds Hills (Durban North) which was white owned. People at Inanda found it hard to have access/ buy western alcohol as black people were not permitted to by alcohol in white areas so they relied on traditional beer (Umqombothi/isiZulu, isiQatha or Ugavini). Sometimes they would buy from coloureds stores, however just because coloured people knew that Africans did not know western alcohol they robbed them by selling them tea. A person will realise when he is at home that it not brandy or wine but tea. Therefore this bottle store was a breakthrough for some of Inanda people to consume and sell western alcohol.
- Bus company/ Umbuso wamaQadi
Seeing that the Indian bus company owned by Indians called Romnanan has been refused permission to operate at Inanda, after the accident that killed a lot of black passengers and realising that the black owned company/ cooperation that took over known as Ukuthuthuka KwamaQadi owned by Mr “Double men” Magwaza, Mambo, and Mdima cannot meet the demands of hundreds Inanda passengers from different locations. Rogers decided to start his own bus company which he name Umbuso wamaQadi. His buses helped a lot of people from places such as Inanda Glebe, eMachobeni, Ntuzuma and surrounding areas. Roger buses helped in the development of new roads as it is sad that he would let his buses drive even in places where there was no access to his passengers but he will make a way.
His buses did not only transport commercial passengers but undercover he transported African National Congress (ANC) members in ANC rallies such as burning of passes in Sharpville. This was not an easy act because it was during the apartheid times whereby Mr Rodgers risked his life and company for the liberation of the African people.In his wife words “it was not an easy journey going to Sharpeville.. We had a lot of stop overs along the road buy Afrikaner policemen. However we left knowing that this was going to happen and we were fully prepared for it. We forged our permit and said we are going a place after Gauteng where there was a church conference happening at the same week as the burning of passes in Sharpville. Luckily they managed to pass all the road blocks and lengthy interrogations and they made it to Sharpeville”.
Rodgers Ngcobo as it is evidence now that he was had love and passion for the development of his community and its people. He worked selflessly for his community. When Inanda Dam was built a lot of people around eSkebheni area was relocated to Inanda Newtown. The conditions were not favourable for the people to live in as they were offered green tents with no toilets to leave to live in. Mr Rodgers Ngcobo spearheading (chairman) Inanda Newtown Development. Which looked at Inanda land issues and development together with other members refused to let people who were evicted in their own land leaving in peace to see them leaving in tents with no sewerage and school. From time to time in meetings/ cases held at Verulem Magistrate court he questioned the company responsible for the development of Inanda Newtown if they can leave in place where there are no toilets, hospitals and schools. With their boldness, Inanda Newtown Development won or was able to convince developers to include things like toilets and schools and building bricks houses for people as the tents were not durable enough to survive heavy storms and rains and not suitable for the family life. Today Inanda Newtown (A,B and C) Citizens enjoy the benefits of work of people such as Rodgers (Bro) Engcobo as they were built beautiful bricks four room houses, they have clinics and beautiful schools such as Inanda Newtown Comprehensive High School and Imbali Yama Zulu.
Source: Interview by Xolani Magwaza with Mrs Winifred Ngcobo on 14 January 2013 and Mr Wilfred Molefe on 21 January 2013.
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