I was born in the last quarter of the 20th century and descended on the moon fold and the zodiac of Capricorn. I am the son of Andries, a professional brick layer and a constructor, and Elizabeth, a domestic worker. The latter, my beloved mother passed on when I was only 2 years, may her soul rest in peace. My full name is Vusumuzi, meaning “the one who restores the family name”. The name has a variety of dialectic versions translated into nicknames like, Mavusana, Mavuthela, Mavuvu. A shortened version is the simplest one that has become my “official” name – Vusi. I am a self-made vegetarian and highly health conscious.
I am typically a child born out of a South African value system of ubuntu accentuated by the African proverb that “it takes a village to raise a child”. All elders and parents in my community practically played a significant and life-changing role in my upbringing. I was a naughty boy-child, but in a good and amusing way. I was not immune to the capital punishment measures prevalent during those days for instilling discipline. I was born and raised through a spiritual value system of Christianity under the faith community of International Pentecost Holiness Church (IPHC). My birth, or should I say my birth date bears significance to my life inspiration as it was surrounded by significant events and milestones. I share the same birth date with Muhammed Ali, Al Capone and Benjamin Franklin. I was born exactly six months before the Soweto Youth Uprising, 17 January 1976 to be exact. I matriculated, with high flying colours, in 1994, the defining moment that changed the political history of South Africa. So, I am a slight “Generation Y” and a prominent “Baby Boomer”.
I was born and bred in the dusty rural village of Weltevrede, Emrhawini section. The name has since been changed with the advent of democracy to Emthambothini. Emthambothini is a 12 km village away from the headquarters of the former Kwa-Ndebele homeland, Siyabuswa, under the last leadership of infamous Piet “Maqhawe” Ntuli and his successor, S.S Skhosana. The village is also the home of the well-known and infamous Ndebele visual artist, Esther “Nostokana” Mahlangu. It is also the Royal home of the Ndebele King Ndzundza ka Mabhoko. The village is still under the kingship of the heir, the third generation of the Ndzundza tribe. The Ndzundza’s are the descendants of the Mahlangu’s ka Mgwezane. There’re three categories of the Ndebele clans, i.e. AmaNdebele ka Ndzunda (Mahlangu), AmaNdebele ka Manala (Mabhena) and AmaNdebele a Moletlane. I belong to the first category. Given the South African economic landscape and unavailability of employment prospects in and around areas where I grew up, I had to residentially settle in Johannesburg. I have travelled extensively within the borders of South Africa and Southern Africa region (Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe). Proudly so, I have a good knowledge and understanding of South Africa’s nine provinces and her geography in general. I have also travelled narrowly to overseas to countries like Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, USA, Brussels and West Indies (The Caribbean). One of my retirement dreams is to travel the world over.
The Ndala’s eulogize the monkey, a symbol of human evolution. My family is related to the royal house (Ndzundza ka Mabhoko) through my paternal grandmother, who was married by my paternal grandfather as an elder wife of the two wives from the royal family. So, my paternal grandfather was a polygamist and I am the niece of the Mahlangu’s. Interestingly enough, I am also related to the royal house through my maternal grandfather’s side who is a Mahlangu ka Mgwezane and married to my grandmother who was a Mtshweni. My maternal grandfather was also a polygamist with two wives with my grandmother being the eldest. All my grandparents have since passed on. NginguNodindwa, uNondarhana we liwa, nginguwakoNdlebe zikhanya ilanga, umzilakatha bayithwala, wakomfazi onamabele amade owamunyisa ngaphesheya kwe ligwa negwana!!! That is my totem! That is me when I am complete and standing tall!!!
My upbringing and nurturing was characterized by a sense of life-purpose that would be my destiny. I learned to take responsibility at a young age. Given that I was the only child and eldest until my mid-primary school years, I had to do household chores that would normally be performed by girls, from cleaning to cooking. It is perhaps as a result of this childhood experience and upbringing that my feminine side is prevalent in part of my character. I was awarded a leadership certificate at a tender of 13 following a two week development programme at the then Goederede Youth Development Centre. The camp took two weeks on different months and seasons. One week was in winter and the one in summer. It was through this learning that my potential leadership skills were spotted and later unleashed as I progressed in my career. I learned the tricks of business and entrepreneurial flair by selling small items at school like peanuts and sweets as well as attending to my cousin’s tuck shops. Like any rural boy who went through the rites of passage, I used to herd cattle during every school holiday when visiting my maternal grandfather for the entire first twelve years of my schooling. I enjoyed the experience and never had a thought and intentions to run away from the activities of being a herd-boy. I milked the cows and hunted rabbits and other wild animals. When schools were closed out of the four terms in a calendar year, I would alternative between my grand-parents’ visits and going with my father to bend down at his building projects. Being close to my dad has taught me to learn the skills of DIY (Do It Yourself), which I often do even now. At school, I have been a class captain in most of my first twelve years of schooling and participated in debating societies. I also had stints as an athlete with remarkable performance in long-jump and high-jump. My pet school sport was volleyball. I advance to the national championships when I was at university. Now I have elevated my sport choice to fit my corporate and business lifestyle. You guessed it right what sport I play! It is this mixture of blended responsibilities that built my character and who I am today as an adult and a father.
In 1986 during the Kwa-Ndebele political revolts, one had to traverse the passage of political storm as a young boy. With the prominent presence of armored vehicles such as “Koyoko’s” and “Hippo’s”, to be streetwise required no thought. I remember spending the night in the dark for two consecutive days and spending half a night in the trenches running away from the then homeland armies. It was through these tumultuous periods that one learned the dynamics of politics and I have gained interest since then. One of the three measure subjects in my first degree was political science, with the other two being public administration and industrial psychology. The latter has propelled an interesting hobby in me that of being fascinated by studying and analyzing human behavior. This has come to be helpful in my professional career given that I work and interact a lot with people.
This concludes a summary of my background and upbringing. For more information about my professional life see the section about my Career Profile.