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November 15, 2013

Bernard Mbambo – Interview with Beauty Mbambo

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.


October 30, 2013

Photos of Leonard Robert Cele

Leonard Robert Cele (1912 – 1954)

Leonard Robert Cele


Standing from left: Leonard Robert Cele (1912 – 1954) and Frances Tosh (formerly Gumede) Cele (1914 – 2000) Photo taken in 1937 on their wedding day. Inanda Mission Station.

L.R. Cele (Principal) of eMawoti Primary School

L.R. Cele (Principal) of eMawoti Primary School

Courtesy of Mwelele Cele (private collection)

September 30, 2013

Bheki Mda

Source: Interview by Xolani Magwaza with Mr Sipho Hadebe on 2 February 2013

Listen to the recording in isiZulu: Bheki Mda

September 16, 2013

Joel E. Tishken – Isaiah Shembe’s Prophetic Uhlanga

shembeJoel E. Tishken has recently written a book about the Prophet Isaiah Shembe. This is what Joel had to say about the book:

The Worldview of the Nazareth Baptist Church in Colonial South Africa. My book’s central contribution to knowledge concerns a rethinking of how scholars view colonized communities. I challenge nationalist and postcolonialist discourses about colonized populations that have viewed empire and its consequences as the prime determinants of colonized individuals’ lives. Instead I argue that the worldview embraced by Shembe and his congregants was prophetically defined and reified. At the heart of the narrative Shembe and church members told of themselves was a sincere and faithful conviction that Shembe was God’s anointed prophet and his followers God’s new chosen people. Therefore, within their understanding of colonial South Africa, British imperialism and white supremacy were part of God’s cosmic vision to provide atonement and salvation for Africans – plans they believed God was prophetically communicating to Shembe. The historical narrative, theology, and identity of Shembe and his parishioners revolved around this prophetically prescribed explanation for the conditions of colonial Africa.

Full bibliographic information may be found at:

August 22, 2013

Mbambo family – Interview with Beauty Mbambo

Interview by Xolani Magwaza with Beauty Mbambo on the 17th of January 2013.

Beauty’s aunt started her shop working as a vendor. She had a wooden box rickshaw kind of a shop, she used to tie it on a tree next to the road where she was selling her products. She started saving, until she was able to build a brick shop. The reason why she built a shop was due to lack shops and roads at eMatikwe. People had no supply of food and basic food like bread, milk and bread. People also wanted to buy food in large quantities as it was not easy to go to town due to lack of transportation and unemployment being rife. Therefore the shop was ideal for the community of eMatikwe as they were able to get food that they want conveniently.

They were also sewing. She and her sister were members of  the Nazareth Baptist Church. They therefore, started a business of sewing the  Shembe (uniforms) “umnazaretha” as it known amongst the church.


As a woman, in the era where democracy was still a dream in the country and patriarchy being the order of the day. Living in an impoverished village of Inanda, lately turned into a township. The same township was declared by former president Thabo Mbeki as one of the most impoverished communities in South Africa before and after democracy. This resulted in president Mbeki calling for (I.N.K), a national programme which is still in operation today as a  government strategy to help change and better the lives of the people of Inanda and surrounding communities such as Ntuzuma and KwaMashu.

Unfortunately, INK was not in operation during Ms. Mbambo’s life time. Ms. Mambo was a brave woman and lived as an inspiration to the females and the people of Inanda at large. At the time when she started her shop, there were no roads that connected her shop with suppliers. At that time Indians were suppliers as they had trucks (transport). This meant that Ms Mbambo’s shop was to be empty at times. Even her and family used to fetch stock at Inanda station (eMtshebheni) as it is known today. “This was  tiring and a time consuming job, as we had to go back to forth fetching heavy loads of stuff (stock)”). “During the rainy days it was harder as her stock got destroyed by the rain, not easy to travel carrying heavy loads with your head”, said Beauty Mbambo.

Fortunately, because the Indian people living at Inanda also had businesses in the surrounding areas and in some part of Inanda. Indians still wanted to further their business operations at Inanda. Indians were the first people at/ of Inanda to provide transportation as they owned buses. A popular Indian bus at the time was called Romnanan. One Indian truck delivery man, who had hard time delivering stock to his African clients at Inanda because of no roads to deliver goods. He spoke with Ms Mbambo about an idea to open a new road  which was going to be beneficial for both groups.

A meeting was held by the community. However not everyone was happy with an idea as some Africans were doubtful of allowing Indians to start businesses in their communities as they feared that Indians will take over. With more talks, then the majority agreed that the road should be opened. However there was an incident where one of the community members resisting even after when the majority had agreed and road had been opened. This woman ploughed sweet potatoes on the road saying that neither Indian trucks nor buses will enter the community. Fortunately the community was able to deal with her accordingly and the problem was solved.


Once the trucks started delivering stock directly to the shop owners, people like Ms. Mbambo were able to do their business well and focus on other important things. The shop became the port for the people of eMatikwe and the surrounding areas  as far as uMzinyathi. Ms. Mbambo also sold food on credits for pensioners as she understood that they were not working. The shop still stands as one of Inanda old buildings or shops, different architecture, a heritage that helps tell the stories, the struggle and the development of eMatikwe and iNanda as a community.

Where is the shop now?

After Ms. Mbambo’s death the shop was taken over by Beauty Mbambo’s mother  who is a female  member of  the family. Beauty Mbambo continued with the legacy of the Mbambo shop until the 2008/09 as crime worsened in the community. There were breaking ins and she feared for her life as she was living in the shop. She and family decided that it was better to rent the shop out at that  moment. She also left her family house next to the shop. Now she resides a place which is a stone throw away from the shop.

Beauty remembers her aunt as strong woman who inspired her to venture for her dreams too. Beauty claims or believes that she is one of the first or amongst the first women of eMatikwe to get a driver’s license. She also started school bus transporting services where she drove African children  to Indian schools, at that time and still stands as a sign of better education amongst the people of Inanda. Her business ventures inspired a lot of people and  today it is dominated by males.

Therefore in conclusion, it is an honor to write about Ms. Mbambo (Mbambo family) as she represent the pride of eNanda’s unsung heroes and “Women in leadership”, a car women have been driving with no proper recognition.

July 11, 2013

Cecilia Khuzwayo (née Mvelase) – Inanda Seminary

Cecilia Khuzwayo (née Mvelase) was a student at Inanda Seminary from 1966-1970. Interviewed via phone from Johannesburg on 7 December 2008 by Meghan Healy as part of her Inanda Seminary Oral History Project. See

Click here for the interview: khuzwayo

July 11, 2013

Constance Koza (née Dlomo) – Inanda Seminary

Constance Koza (née Dlomo) was a student at Inanda Seminary from 1941-1945 and principal from 1980-1986. Interviewed in Centurion, Gauteng, 2 June 2009 by Meghan Healy as part of her Inanda Seminary Oral History Project. See

Click here for the interview: koza