Celebrating The Life & Times Of Fuyizizwe “Frank”​ Mgudlwa, A South African Legend

Fuyizizwe “Frank” Mgudlwa who has died in Cape Town at the age of 83 was an activist, teacher, labour organiser and contributor in the Letters’. section of various newspapers.

He was a man who loved to write to newspapers, especially the Cape Times, expressing personal views as a citizen of South Africa. And in the year 1975, he married the daughter of the Hlubi Nation, Zora Nomathamsanqa Mehlomakulu, a Struggle stalwart who died in 2001. He was also involved underground in the anti-apartheid Struggle.


In the year 1988, he helped his wife start a skills development centre, Phandulwazi Workers Skills Development Project in Langa. Phandulwazi means ‘Seek Knowledge’.

Since its inception in 1988, the Centre has trained more than 1000 people in various fields like brick-making, gardening, photography, painting to name but a few.

The Centre also hosts the Langa branches of the ANC and SACP and various other organisations and institutions from Cape Town and elsewhere.

Under Mgudlwa’s leadership, Phandulwazi in-partnership with the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (under the directorship of Albert Schuitmaker), initiated the N2 Gateway Housing Project which is one of the biggest housing projects in South Africa post apartheid.

Fuyizizwe Mgudlwa received two fruits from his marriage Nosizwe and Thandisizwe Mgudlwa.

Some of his children are Monde Mgudlwa; Philisiwe Sobekwa and Nosicelo Nkopho.

Mgudlwa also had a grandson Thando Likhona Jita.

Of Royalty by birth, he was born on 3 February 1935, in the village of Ngqayi in Qhumanco in the district of Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape.

He departed on Monday 28 January 2019 due to health complications, and was buried on his birthday, 3 February, 2019.

Born to King Stormont Maqhwana Mgudlwa, of the Madiba clan of the Thembu Nation, and mother Agnes Nomfazwe Mgudlwa, from the Matoti family in Lubisi.

He started his schooling in Cathcart until std 6. He continued to study at Welsh High in East London.

In 1949 he came to Cape Town and completed his secondary education at Langa High. He worked in a variety of jobs including Garlicks, Standard Bank and Alphen House.

Prior to this, he was teaching in the Adult Education field under Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET). Up until the 1980s, Mgudlwa was also labour organizer for workers from Cape Town to work in the mines in Guateng province.

In the past couple of years Mgudlwa, now working together with veteran actress and stage guru, Thoko Ntshinga, who is also Founder and Director of Nants’ingqayi Arts Development Association, a community development project, based at Phandulwazi, formed a partnership with the popular American television soap opera, The Bold and The Beautiful. The programme involves the development of tomorrows actors and actresses, with young students possibly gaining more experience in the US.

He is survived by his five children and a grandson.

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