The traditional healing community has lost a popular member, Thandi Margaret Zikhali of Wattville, Ekhuruleni, who died on Monday after a short illness.
Zikhali was involved in traditional healers' battle to be part of the health sector.
She said that many black South Africans utilised the services of traditional healers so the government should recognise them as essential services providers.
Born in Wattville on December 4 1954, Zikhali inherited her father's herbal shop at the Zitha shopping complex, one of the first such shops in Benoni. It thrived because of community support.
She attended Magalelagase Primary School and Lesabe Higher Primary. After completing Grade 7 Zikhali went to Etwatwa High, but the calling to become a sangoma was so strong that she had to leave school.
She was a founder member of the Benoni Traditional Healers Association, which she served until her death.
Her sister Nellinah Zikhali said: "Zikhali was a woman who gave a lot of her time to help people in need. We will miss her unifying spirit and community activism."
Zikhali will be buried tomorrow at the Van Dyk Cemetery.
The service starts at her home in Matlaisane Street, Wattville, at 8am.