Interview by Xolani Magwaza with Beauty Mbambo on the 17th of January 2013.
An ordinary family man residing at eMatabetuli, a community located within Inanda Township. Bernard’s father was a soldier, when he passed away (year not known), he left his military service money and it was given to his son Bernard.
At the time that Bernard was handed the money, by the state, he was still working for an agricultural company known as (AUCI). When he got this money, he asked his employees for advice on how to use the money as it was a lot of money at that time (amount not given). Bernard’s employees asked him what is a necessity in his village / community and he told his employees that there is a huge transportation problem at Inanda. AUCI then advised and helped Bernard on starting a bus company.
Bernard realised that he was not going to be able to run the bus company on his own but he needed some help from other passionate leaders like him. Fortunately he was surrounded by hard workers such as; “Double-man” Magwaza and Mr Mdima. All three of them started the first black-owned bus company in iNanda called “Ukuthuthuka KwamaQadi” which in English translates as “The Develoment of the Qadi Nation”.
The Qadi’s are a Zulu nation under the leadership of the Ngcobos whose lineage comes all the way from Zululand. The Qadis fled from Zululand after the coup of King Shaka by his half-brother Dingaan. For King Dingaan to feel safe in his thrown he has to get rid of King Shaka’s allies and unfortunately the Qadi’s were close to King Shaka. The Qadis fled from the heart of Zululand and crossed the Tugela river to find refuge or settle at iNdwedwe. The Qadi homestead is now at uMzinyathi (eNanda) under the chieftaincy of chief Mqoqi Ngcobo.
Around the late 1980’s/ 1990s a fatal bus accident occurred at Inanda right by Kwa-Seme (next to Pixle’s family land). An Indian bus with African passengers lost control and killed a lot of people. This tragedy became an opportunity for people like Bernard, Double-man and Mdima to expand their bus company as people complained about the Indian buses and their negligence towards safety of passengers. Around this time, after such traged, the Indian buses stopped operating at Inanda. This resulted in a growth in black-owned bus businesses, as people like; Rogers “Bro” Ngcobo and Chief Gwala of eMaphephetheni bought their own buses too. Rogers company was called uMbuso WamaQadi (Reign of the Qadis) while chief Gwala’s company was called uKukhanya KwaMaphephethwa (Light of the Phephethwa or Gwala nation).
Bernad Mbambo’s hardwork to make sure that he provided transport for his people inspired a lot of black people to be business-men amd women. Bernard was not just a bus company owner but also a farmer. The skills that he sought form AUCI helped him and the community very much as he bought the tractor and he started cultivating land, ploughing products such as beans and amadumbe “yams” and sold them for the local people and people who were selling in town in a market called eMatsheni .Bernard also taught people how to plough, what types of food can be ploughed, at what soil and at what time. Bernard was also a farmer as he had a lot of cows, goats, chickens and donkeys.
Bernard as a person, was a people’s person but quite and strict at home. He was a good father to his children, he provided for the family. His best friend was his bus company co-owner Double-men Magwaza. They both loved game hunting. They used to hunt at Matebetuli. He loved playing a game called “mulabalaba”. Sometimes Bernard used to let some of the passengers ride the bus for free or on credit if they didn’t have money. When one of his drivers passes away, Bernard would make sure that the children’s education is taken care of. Bernard Mbambo passed away about two decades ago; however his legacy at the history and development of Inanda and African entrepreneurship will never be forgotten.
This post is also available in: Zulu