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Mbali Maureen Mdunge was as beautiful as her name. She also had a big heart, full of love and very caring.
Like a flower, she added beauty to dreary surroundings, but died a tad too soon - on August 17. She succumbed to asthma.
When I joined the Mdunge family as umakoti many years ago, Mbaliwelcomed me with open arms. She told me a few years later that she was the one who had told her brother to go after me and make sure that I agreed to marry him.
Of course, she had no idea we already were seeing each other. The fourth of seven children, she became my confidant. Her friends and colleagues at Ebuhleni Primary School where she was a teacher since 1993 until her death expressed similar sentiments.
"A humble angel and a willing horse, always prepared to help. She loved music and sang as a soloist. She was a member of the Jabavu Choral Choir. "As a student at Soweto College of Education, she also sang in Thulasizwe's Choir there," said her principal Mittah Mandlazi this week.
"She was a teacher, not a cheater," she said, recalling the times when Mdunge performed her duties at the school as well as going the extra mile to help choristers in the school choir.
It is clear that the school has lost a valued and active member.
Born on June 20 1959 in Zola, Soweto, she started school at Vusisizwe Lower Primary and then Zola Higher Primary School.
Mdunge matriculated at Mncube Secondary School and later obtained a teachers' diploma at Soweto College of Education.
She then studied for a further diploma in remedial education at what was then the Randse Afrikaans Universiteit (RAU).
She obtained a BEd degree at the same institution a few years later. She was by then teaching at Ebuhleni Primary School.
She lived with her ailing mother who she cared for.
She is survived by her two children, Njabulo, 12, and Mpho, 2, her mother, Nokuphana and her six brothers.
Mdunge will be buried at Lenz Cemetery tomorrow.
The service starts at 8am at Jabulani Technical College.