Max Express

I saw Mr Thandinkosi Ntshingila for an eye test recently. He was born in 1940. I told him I knew a Mr Max Ntshingila in Harrismith many moons ago, who owned a fleet of buses.

He said “Hayibo! That’s my Dad!!”

Strictly speaking Max was his uncle, but his Dad died when he was very young and his uncle Max took him in and raised him as his own in Phomolong.

He told me that besides the buses – remember “Max Express” buses? yellow and green, I seem to remember – Max owned two shops, plus a petrol station in Swaziland.

Max died in 1978 aged 60 (so these news cuttings are ca. 1971). His empire collapsed when he died, as his kids “were spoilt” and “none of them could manage anything”, according to Thandinkosi.

Max sent Thandinkosi to college and he ended up in Durban working for Engen or Sapref or one of those fuel refinery places. Retired now, he plays the horses for fun and I see him at the tote on the roof of our centre occasionally.

I had wondered vaguely these years about something, and Thandinkosi had the answer for me: That cream coloured yank tank Max drove was a Chev Biscayne.

1963_chevrolet_biscayne-pic-9465

He still goes to Harrismith regularly to look after the house in Phomolong where he was raised. One of his nieces lives in it.
 
Leon Strachan sent me some pictures. Note how Dr Frank Mdlalose, who we only got to know of post-1994, when he became KwaZulu Natal’s first Premier, was a house guest of the Ntshingila’s in Harrismith.
 
Max Express 3
Max Express 4
 

~~~oo0oo~~~

Today – 12 December 2019 – I saw Mt Ntshingila again and gave him copies of these pictures. He’ll be 80 next year. I hoped he was one of the kids in the photo but he wasn’t. Not one of the people in the photo are still alive, he tells me. They all died quite young. He’s the only survivor of that household. He was chuffed to receive these mementoes and says he’s going to frame the family photo!

– Mr Thandinkosi Ntshingila studies the photos –

~~~oo0oo~~~

Published by bewilderbeast

It's about life, marriage, raising kids, paddling rivers, travel in Africa . . . re-posting thoughts written over decades - at random, I'm afraid.

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