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Sylvester Ntuli Road
Formerly Brickhill Road

Liberation movement stalwart Sylvester Mthembeni Ntuli was born at Mbongolwane, Eshowe, in 1934. During the “One Pound a Day” strike in 1961, Ntuli was at the forefront, organising and encouraging workers to join the protest. He was staying with his family at Lamontville at the time, after relocating from uMkhumbane in 1958. In the same year, he married Antonia Shezi and had four children, three boys and a girl. Two of his children are still alive, Chris, an ANC member of parliament, and Nhlanhla, who works in New Germany.

During one of his running battles with the police, Ntuli was shot twice in the lower abdomen, and residents who saw what had happened were too scared to let him into their homes to help him. His eldest son Chris still remembers his father’s coat riddled with bullets during one of his confrontations with the apartheid police. Ntuli gained a reputation as a fearless trade unionist in his days at Consolidated Textiles, known to many workers at the time as KwaBlanket. At the same time he was active in the ANC’s underground structures. This led to his arrest in 1958 and in 1963.

After the first democratic elections in 1994 Ntuli and other activists formed the Umlazi Reconstruction and Development Committee to monitor development and service delivery in the area. He was elected chairman of the committee in 1995. He worked with Willis Mchunu, now KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Local Government, and the late Masobiya Mdluli. He was instrumental in the formation of taverns in Umlazi and was later elected Chairman of the KZN Taverners Association. Ntuli was elected an eThekwini councillor for the ANC in 1996. In his personal capacity, he contributed to the education of several poor children in Umlazi. He died in 2003.

kleinbooie@durban.gov.za