Justice Vuka Eliakim Maswazi Tshabalala was born in Orlando East in 1937. A year later his family moved to settle in Durban.
After completing his junior primary schooling at Fannin government school, Vuka enrolled at the famous Loram Secondary School in Durban for a year. He then moved to Pholela Institution where he could not stand freezing weather of Bulwer.
He completed his matric at St Francis College, Mariannhill. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Fort Hare and his LLB at the then University of Natal (now University of KwaZulu-Natal).
Vuka Tshabalala was employed by the Radiography Department of McCords Hospital in 1956. He went on to obtain his Bachelor of Arts Degree at University of Fort Hare and a Law degree (LLB) at the then University of Natal (now University of KwaZulu –Natal).
Tshabalala did his articles of clerkship with attorney O.K. Mofolo and became a fully-fledged lawyer under the Natal Law Society in ….
Justice Tshabalala has broken through several apartheid barriers. He became the first Black Advocate to Practice in Natal. In March 1995 he was appointed Judge of the Bisho High Court and was appointed Deputy judge President Of KwaZulu–Natal in October 1998, taking up the appointment in February 1999. In October 2000 he was appointed as Judge President of KwaZulu–Natal.
He is the Chancellor of the Durban University of Technology. He served as Judge President of Natal. In 1969 he became the first Black Advocate to practice in Natal. In September 1994, Tshabalala was elevated to Senior Counsel Status by the State President.
He has held leadership positions in business, sporting, education, and cultural organisations, including serving as a Vice President of the Natal Council of YMCAs and Vice Chairman of the Clermont Advisory Board.
Justice Tshabalala was appointed by the President of the Republic of South Africa to lead the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) from 2011 until 2015.
He was appointed as the Chancellor of the Durban University of Technology (DUT) from 1 April 2012.
Judge Tshabalala was widowed in 1986 and never remarried. He also lost a son to cancer. He has two surviving daughters and three sons.