Biographies

Bheki Ntshalintshali
Early Life 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 my parents is Veli. After completing my Junior Certificate I could not receive my sym-bols 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. Career Life 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 com-promised. 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 man-ner 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 unemploy-able 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, rude-ness 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.