Henry Daniel Tyamzashe was born in Kimberley in 1880, the son of a prominent Xhosa minister in the United Free Church of Scotland. He completed secondary school at Lovedale and also studied printing there, becoming a printer and journalist. He joined the ICU in Johannesburg in early 1925 and later became its provincial secretary for the Transvaal. With Kadalie he edited The Workers' Herald and later. New Africa, the paper of the Independent Industrial Commercial Union (ICU). In 1930 he was arrested in connection with the general strike in East London that was organised by the Independent ICU, but he was later discharged. Following Kadalie, he moved from Johannesburg in the early 1930s to East London, where he subsequently became a member of the location advisory board. In 1946 he gave evidence before the Natives Law Commission of Inquiry meeting at East London.