Tetile (Boy) Sgwentu

Boy Sgwentu (Tetile is his Xhosa name, but his friends and family call him Boy or Maboy ) is the patriarch of this beautiful family.  He’s a warm and loving father, a sharp and insightful thinker, a puller of legs, and a teller of shaggy dog stories.  He dotes on his children and wife, and they love him dearly.  He has finally created the family he longed for all his life, as different members of his extended family shuttled him between homes as he grew up.

He’s deeply knowledgeable about the Western and Eastern Cape areas, South African politics, and knows both the beauty and beastly sides of his country.  He speaks English, Xhosa, and Africaans fluently, as well as a number of other related languages.  He knows the culture, the history, and the context in profound and integrated way.  I learned volumes from him in our short stay.

Growing up, Boy did a variety of work on farms and as a brick maker.  He put himself through school, helped by his gambling friend, Harry.  Ultimately, he tested, trained, and entered the South African Police Department as part of the crime intelligence gathering unit.  His career in the SAPD has spanned over twenty years of covert operations and intelligence.  Even today, his family doesn’t know where his office is and can only contact him by cell phone when he’s working.

The SAPD has a dismal reputation for corruption and nefarious deeds during Apartheid.  Throughout all that he has seen, Boy has somehow maintained his integrity, honesty, and sanity.  He’s refused to be corrupted, and has been passed over many times for promotions because of his beliefs, despite having taught the department how to work with the townships.

Boy has also been active in the township communities, helping start his wife’s organization the Foundation for South African Female Empowerment .  In recent years, Boy has started a tour company called Magnficent Tours. His intimate knowledge of his country and its people can give you a glimpse of South Africa you can get nowhere else.  I never felt unsafe or threatened while we were anywhere in the country, and I was priveleged to experience things that most white people will never know.

His daughter, Thania, and I will be developing his company web site over the next couple of months, but feel free to contact him through the information that is there now.  Please visit South Africa, and please work with Boy to experience it.  It’s a fabulous place, and he’s an incredible person.


For more information about our trip, see South Africa .

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