The headstones at the Inanda Seminary Cemetery indicate that Mbila (the son of Batshazwayo) and his wife Nomanxiwa KaGolokoqo Cele were 88 and83 years old respectively when they died. Already in the mid-nineteenth century, they were already members of local church. One of the sons of Mbila was Blanjan Mhlathini who died in 1963. His sons Oscar and Pascoe Simo are the subjects of this report. Both became prominent members of both church and community.
Oscar (Popular known as O.K) became a teacher of tailoring at Ohlange Institute. When he retired, he became a businessman serving the community throughout his life. Also his name on the commemorative plaque outside the church confirms that he became a deacon and prominent member of the church. He and his wife lie buried at the local cemetery.
Pascoe Simo (Popular known amongst his colleagues as PSB) was the younger (and only) brother of O.K. His wife, Grace Ntonjana was a member of another well-known family, the Mfeka’s of Emachobeni. Both became school teachers. After graduating with a B.A at Fort Hare, Pascoe taught at Mpolweni and then moved to Adams College. He established his reputation as a good teacher of Maths and Science, working together with such great names as Mthimkhulu, Moerane, Mtshali and Ngobese.
In 1948 Pascoe returned to his home and community at Inanda Mission and taught at Ohlange Institute where he became acting headmaster until 1960. When he left for Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) where he taught at Mount Selinda and Chikore both secondary schools both run by American Board Mission (UCCSA). In 1992 Pascoe returned to Inanda at the advent of democracy in South Africa. He died in 1994 leaving behind four sons who are still alive and a daughter who is late. He was buried by UCCSA and his community of Inanda and likes, like his forebears, at the cemetery at Inanda Seminary.
What conclusion can be drawn from this brief narrative?
- The Bophela (Bopela) family ranks amongst the Ngcobo, Goba, Ngidi, Mfeka, and Nxumalo as one of the first families to form the community of what today Inanda Mission.
- They accepted Christianity early and played a prominent role in all aspects of the church and mission congregants and deacons.
- They became prominent in business- O.K Bophela and P.S Bophela established Mtshazi cash store in KwaNgolosi and O.K ran school view cash store and education.
Written by Vusumuzi N Bopela in January 2013 (collected by Xolani Magwaza)
For more information on some of the organizations or institutions mentioned in this post click on one of the links below:
University of Fort Hare
American Board Mission
United Congregational Church of Southern Africa