Healing light dims

Veronica Cecilia Mtiisetso Moahloli was the Florence Nightingale of Soweto.

Veronica Cecilia Mtiisetso Moahloli was the Florence Nightingale of Soweto.

Her passion since childhood was to heal people, so it came as no surprise that she enrolled to study nursing after matriculating.

Born on October 3 1954 at White City, Jabavu, into the Motsoeneng family, Moahloli matriculated at Morris Isaacson High School, a breeding ground of political activism.

In the aftermath of the 1976 uprising, she married Zachariah Moahloli and then studied nursing at GaRankuwa Hospital, near Pretoria. She completed her midwifery course at Somerset West Hospital. She later won a community health diploma at Wits, and a degree in psychology from Unisa. Her first job was at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital.

In 1991 Moahloli assumed the leadership of Sanca in Soweto. She was appointed the centre's first director.

A hands-on person, she was moved by the growing number of black people, young and old, who were becoming addicted to illegal substances.

She and her staff worked hard to build the centre and its reputation as a place of healing. When the building could no longer accommodate the growing needs of the community, Moahloli went out to raise funds.

One of her stops was the United Nations, which lent a helping hand.

Today, Soweto enjoys the fruits of the labour of a person who gave up her family time to unselfishly focus on fighting the well-financed trade in illegal drugs.

She leaves behind a legacy that will continue to bring hope to many people affected by drugs. The centre provides out-patient care, outreach programmes, sports and recreation, and support groups.

Moahloli lost her battle with cervical cancer on May9. She is survived by her husband Zachariah, son Paseka and two daughters, Mothepane and Talent, as well as by a grandchild, Tshimoloho.

She will be buried tomorrow at Westpark Cemetery. The service will be held at the Uniting Reform Church in Moroka from 7am.