I saw Mr Thembinkosi Ntshingila for an eye test recently. He was born in 1957.
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. His empire collapsed when he died, as his kids “were spoilt” and “none of them could manage anything”, according to Thembinkosi.
Max had sent Thembinkosi 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 Thembinkosi had the answer for me: That cream coloured yank tank Max drove was a Chev Biscayne.
One of his nieces lives in it.