A fond farewell to Alex leader, Bra Mish


Alexandra township bid farewell to a true servant of the people in June.

This is how the community of the sprawling kasi north of Johannesburg described the late Mshengu Mishack Hlophe. “Bra Mish”, as Hlophe was affectionately known, was buried at Waterval Cemetery on 3 June 2020.

He passed away on 29 May after battling illness. He was 56.

He passed away on 29 May after battling illness. He was 56.

Hlophe held many titles during his lifetime. He was the president of the SA Liquor Traders Association (SALTA), a board member at Alex FM, in addition to being a steward at the Methodist Church of Africa.

He was also actively involved in politics as a staunch member of the Economic Freedom Fighters.

All these organisations described him as a selfless person.

“Our shebeens and taverns were recognised as business entities because of the work done by Ntate Hlophe and the leadership of SALTA. They really fought for our establishments to be recognised by the government,” said Mary Msibi of Mary’s Inn in Alexandra. “We lost a selfless man who also taught us about responsible trading and educating our customers about responsible drinking. We’ll miss Bra Mish dearly. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

Msibi also took the opportunity to pay tribute to the work that SALTA has done during the lockdown.

Hlophe advocated for legal trading and responsible drinking, while successfully convincing the government to grant shebeens operating permits.

Ironically, his passing coincided with the (temporary) lifting of the ban on alcohol sales under lockdown by the government.

SALTA provincial executive committee member and local chairperson, Martin Hlongwa, said that although Bra Mish left “big shoes to fill” he still left behind a legacy within the association.

“He came through the ranks at SALTA. He was always pushing us in our fight for the rights of liquor traders. With his passing, it’s like he is saying, 'I’ve done my job' just after he had reached the zenith,” said Hlongwa.

Hlophe also played an active role in politics, first in the ANC structures before he joined the EFF in 2013. He was the EFF’s branch secretary and chairperson before the party nominated him as its councillor candidate during the 2016 municipal elections.

The Rasibe Langa EFF branch in Alexandra said, “Fighter Mish will be most remembered for his generosity. He always ensured no fighter goes hungry around him. He had a good sense of humour and a love for children. Fighter Mish kept to the real ethos of the struggle for the true emancipation of black people and he knew that there is no true freedom without economic freedom.”

Apart from his involvement across various sectors, Hlophe also encouraged the importance of education. He held a BCom Admin degree from Unisa.

Hlope, also nicknamed Lefty, left behind a big family. He is survived by his wife Shirley Hlophe (née Mothowagae), four brothers, seven sisters, three sons, a daughter and 10 grandchildren.

Go well, Mabhengu!