Mthuli ka Shezi was a leading Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) intellectual. He was also a playwright and a cultural activist. He was president of the Students Representative Council at the University of Zululand and later solidified his political career when he became vice president of the BCM affiliate, the Black People’s Convention (BPC). Through his writing, Shezi introduced his BCM ideas to a wider audience. His play titled Shanti. Received reviews by the People’s Experimental Theatre Group in the early 1970s.
In 1972, Shezi was pushed in front of an oncoming train at Germiston station and sustained severe injuries. He died in hospital shortly afterwards. It is reported that he gave a detailed accounts of how he had come to the defence of a black woman who was being drenched with a hose pipe by her white boss. According to some reports, after an altercation, the man pushed Shezi onto the railway track. Other reports state that the man pushed him when he spotted him on the rail station a few days after he came to the woman’s defence.
Shezi was awarded the Order of Luthuli for his courage and contribution to the performing arts and anti-apartheid activism.