Mbhazima Shilowa was born at Olifantshoek in Limpopo. He completed his secondary education at Akani High School in 1978.
The following year he started working at John Weinberg Hardware in Germiston. He then moved to Anglo Alpha Cement in Roodepoort. He later joined PSG Services in Johannesburg. In 1981 Shilowa joined the trade union movement and became a shop steward.
He became a vice president and later president of the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union. Shilowa played an important role in the formation of the Congress of SA Trade Unions in 1985. He was elected deputy chairman of Cosatu's Guateng region. In 1991 he was elected deputy secretary of Cosatu and became the federation's general secretary in 1993. Shilowa then played a major role in the formation of the National Economic and Labour Council.
Shilowa was also part of the ANC negotiating team at the Convention for a Democratic SA negotiations in 1992 - which led to the writing of South Africa's democratic Constitution.
Shilowa was elected premier of Gauteng in 1999 . He was currently serving his second term as premier of South Africa's economic hub. Shilowa is married to trailblazing businesswoman Wendy Luhabe.
For a former trade unionist, Shilowa has taken to the good life of the nouveau riche like a duck to water. He is known to have a taste for good food and good wine - while chomping on an imported Cuban cigar.
His favourite haunts for indulgence in epicurean pleasures include exclusive restaurants.
Shilowa, together with his business partners including Safika Holding chairman Moss Ngoasheng, Vintage Capital's head Mutle Mogase and retired business supremo Ron T Gault own a wine label aptly called the Epicurean.