The death of Winnie Mabaso will be felt by thousands of children who came to her door and found nothing but care and unconditional love.
Mabaso shared her home with 60 orphans but was also a mother to thousands of children who got help or lived at the Zenzele Counselling and Orphan Care Project, a centre she established in Finetown, near Johannesburg, in 2000.
The children came from far and wide, especially those affected by HIV-Aids, to get food and help with their school work.
Mabaso was born on May 27 1939 in Meyerton, on the East Rand, to a large and close-knit family. She attended St Mary's Primary School and St Thomas' Senior Secondary School in Johannesburg, and then studied medicine in Scotland.
After she returned Mabaso worked at St Rita's Hospital in Glen Cowie in Limpopo and then at Pretoria Hospital, but she cut her medical career short to start a family after marrying John Mabaso.
Mabaso went into business with a shoe store, a grocery shop and a restaurant before going into community work.
Mabaso, Sowetan's Gauteng Community Builder of the Year, senior category, last year, is survived by her sister, her son, her daughter-in-law and a granddaughter.
Mabaso's funeral service at the Welfare Centre Hall in Meadowlands Zone 9 starts at 8am tomorrow. She will be buried in the Roodepoort Cemetery in Dobsonville.