Bheki Ntshalintshali

The name Beki (Bheki) was given to me by a white-man official at Home Affairs when I applied for my identity document. This is the legal name I am using even today while my real name given to me by my parents is Veli. After completing my Junior Certificate I could not receive my symbols to be admitted at High School and I had to wait for my certificate. While waiting I was employed by the school in which I was studying as a Librarian teacher for a year. Eventually my certificate came but there was no money to further my studies as my younger brothers were at secondary school then. My parents decided that I was the one to be compromised. I came to Johannesburg undocumented in that I did not have section 10 (1) (a) and I had running battles with police and used all manner of tricks available to me to remain in Johannesburg.
I was deported out of Joburg more than four times (issued with 72 hours special to leave Joburg) and every time I was sent off I would get a new ID and came back. Without proper documentation I was almost unemployable in Johannesburg. I eventually got employed by my uncle who owned taxis at the time. Here again I got two nick names – Mtshana because it was how my uncle called me and everybody followed suit but others called me Mshagaan which I would explain some time in the future if I get time. Within a year I graduated in the taxi industry from being a taxi driver to be taxi operator (Owner). My intention was not to stay long in this industry. Due to the nature of the industry, the violence, roughness, greed, rudeness and the fact that I was street wise, life and death were two sides of the same coin. Many people that I knew died of violence while other closer to me were arrested for all sorts of things I decided to leave the sector. I had enough money to go back to school and look after my young brothers who were at high school by then.
Unfortunately I was arrested near Swaziland for driving a taxi (own car) outside of its operating area without a permit which normally was traffic of-fence that would render one arrested but issue with a traffic ticket. When appearing in court for a bail the charges were added to include suspicions of being a terrorist. Though I got a bail I and to appear in court every month for two years. At the end of the trial I was fined a mere R50 for driv-ing a taxi outside of its operation routes without a permit. I had lost all the interests of going back to school. I found my self employed at Sasol 3 in Secunda, Mpumalanga. It was there that I was recruited to the Chemical Workers Industrial Union (CWIU), a FOSATU affiliate in 1981 as a mem-ber. I was elected as a shopsteward, chairperson of Sasol 3 and Deputy Chairperson of the SASOL Plants SASOL 2 and 3). In 9184 I together with 6500 workers were dismissed by SASOL who was then a parastatal for participating in a political stay away on 5 & 6 November 1984, which was called by UDF in support of COSAS.