Mbulawa Mputumeni

Everyone has a story, everyone has a history. They are all going to be different, some more interesting than others. Coffee Bay is packed full of locals with amazing lives and adventures to tell. You just have to ask and listen. One of these locals is a man named Mbulawa, a former ANC Freedom Fighter and thenPeace Protector. He is a true legend in the vastly diverse community making up Coffee Bay.

Mbulawa is a tall man, but an obvious gentle giant. He has been in Coffee Bay as a resident for over 20 years. Originally from Mqanduli, not far from this town, he is a Wild Coast born and bred. For those who don’t know, the Transkei is the birth place of former President Nelson Mandela. Mbulawa being brought up in the Transkei knew many people getting involved in the freedom strikes and ending up on Robyn Island. This was a major recruiting place for ANC Freedom Fighters during Mandela and South Africa’s struggle for equality. Mbulawa joined forces with the recruits and fought for the freedom of so many. He fought for a movement he believed would one day bring peace to the beautiful country he called home. He fought for a country that millions of people, a variety of millions call home. He was 16 years old.

He worked devotedly under the ANC, meeting Mandela himself. In the years leading up to the removal of apartheid and after the signing of the Peace Accord, there was a lot of fear in the country. People feared about the future of their land and their families. This caused discord throughout South Africa. Everyone seemed to be fighting, the youths, the police, but mainly just the people themselves. The ‘Peace Protectors’ were a task force created to be a buffer between all of the anger and restore the peace between the people. Mbulawa was stationed as a ‘Peace Protector’ along this stretch of the Wild Coast, specifically Coffee Bay. He has been working in the area in security ever since and is a trusted man in the community.

Mbulawa is a good example of the magic that lives in this small town. He has watched Coffee Bay transform over a few decades. He can tell you about what has changed and what hasn’t. One thing for sure that hasn’t, is his soft spot for this place called Coffee Bay… and you ask him his favorite part of this area and he will flat out say, “NATURE.”

“The ocean, the hills, the valleys, and the bush… NATURE.”