Curnick Ndlovu, the first leader of the uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) Regional Command in Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal), recruited Louis ‘Problem’ Mkhize first into the trade union movement in 1962, and into MK later the same year. Thereafter, he was ordered to leave the country to undergo military training.

He left in the company of Winston Sindane, Samson Mbatha and Cyril ‘Edwin’ Dlamini, through Botswana and Zambia into Tanzania. Mkhize and his group were sent to Egypt where he underwent a six months military course and then went on to do a commander’s course. The group returned to Tanzania in 1963. He was then sent to the Odessa Academy in the Soviet Union where he underwent further nine-month training in a commander’s course.  He returned to Tanzania in 1964 and began preparations for the Wankie and Sipolilo operations. Mkhize and other cadres remained in Zambia as combatants in waiting during the Wankie and Sipolilo campaigns.

There was never a need for them to cross into Zimbabwe especially after the unsuccessful engagements at Wankie and Sipolilo. Mkhize served as the interpreter during the Morogoro Conference, in 1969. After the conference, he and other cadres were sent to the Soviet Union for a refresher course. The course lasted eighteen months. The last six months were spent in Moscow. They were then sent to Baku for a sea-landing course. He became part of the team that was to infiltrate the country through the Aventura Military ship. The captain of the ship and the leadership of the ANC abandoned the mission.

Mkhize was then appointed a commander of the Natal MK urban machinery in Mozambique in 1981, working with Dumisani Makhaye. He was appointed a commissar in Mozambique in 1981. He remained in Mozambique until 1984 when he and other ANC/MK operatives were forced to leave the country following the signing of the Nkomati Accord between South Africa and Mozambique. The ANC appointed him the deputy military attaché in Tanzania in 1985. He held this position until 1991 when he returned to South Africa to attend the first ANC conference inside South Africa since 1961.

The conference was held at the University of Durban-Westville. Shortly after the conference the MK commander, Joe Modise, appointed him as a military attaché in Maputo, Mozambique. He held that position from 1991 to 1993. At the beginning of 1994, Mkhize was sent to Zimbabwe to undergo a senior staff course for three months. He returned to South Africa shortly before the first democratic elections in April 1994.

Mkhize was integrated into the South African National Defence Force on 8 July 1995. He was promoted to the rank of colonel and sent to work as deputy intelligence officer in Pietersburg. He remained in that post until the end of 1996. Mkhize was transferred to the Natal Command as deputy chief of communications in December 1996. He served in this position from December 1996 to August 2000. Mkhize died in 2006. 


SADET, (2001), Louis ‘Problem’ Mkhize from The Road to Democracy Project, [online] Available at [Accessed on 15 August 2011] | Goldstone C, (2008), Goin' on down to Problem street, from the Independent Online, 30 August, [online] Available at [Accessed 19 August 2011]  

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