Slide Solomon ‘Buthongo’ Masilela

Solomon ‘Buthongo’ Masilela, has a family history as interesting and challenging as that of uMagogo.

The only difference is that he does not boast the heritage of royalty that uMagogo enjoys. The name Buthongo means sleep in isiZulu, which is a contradiction to the man’s character, because he never sleeps. According to uButhongo, he was born on 5 August 1924, in Ngobi, Middelburg, to Moraka Daniel Masilela and Sarah naMngwane. He was one of a family of eleven.

Interestingly, his identity document gives a different date of birth. It shows that he was born on 5 August 1925. It is not clear whether this was an error at the time of registration or a result of the generally observed arrogance of government officials of the time. This tendency resulted in many people assuming incorrect personal details, which they had to live with for the rest of their lives

UButhongo attended school at Berlin School in Rietvlei. He was still at school when his father, Moraka, died on 7 September, 1939, four days after Britain and France declared war on Germany. Due to financial difficulties, uButhongo could not continue with his studies beyond Std 1. This period coincided with a serious crisis, brought about by a devastating drought that almost decimated the family. The death of the breadwinner, coinciding with the outbreak of the drought, brought untold hardship to the family. The piece of land they tilled became dry and virtually useless for the family. Because there were no prospects of uButhongo finding a job to feed the family, he was forced to join the army in 1942. This quickly became the way to go for most young healthy boys and men like him. He went to register and was enlisted in Germiston.

After the war, he was forced to go and find a job in the city of Johannesburg, where he stayed until he moved with his family to Swaziland – in protest against Bantu education. He settled at Number 43 in 1965 and that is where he is up to this very day.