Dedicated caring nurse to the end
On the morning of March 1 2008, I was awakened by my wife Kagiso with the news that my mother-in-law, Lettie Manare Mphela, had died at the Middelburg Provincial Hospital after a short illness.
Born in Mokopane, then Potgietersrus, in 1963, the woman I called Mama Lettie had been a real mother to me. She changed my perceptions of what mothers-in-law are said to be.
Mphela was a dedicated private health worker, and as a private surgery administrator for more than 20 years, she grew to live her job.
To her, every cough needed a doctor, every cut bandaging and every sign of stress a rest. She would encourage all of us to take our medicine. Even her 3-year-old grandson Aluta would ask for her when he felt feverish. She was a nurse, caregiver and medicine dispenser.
Who could know that a mortal could give so much without asking for anything in return? To receive, she gave with her heart, and through her monthly stokvel, her small four-roomed house in Mhluzi township, Middelburg, was a haven of singing and delicious food.
A devout Christian and dedicated member of the Lutheran Church, Mphela gave up some of her Sundays to help others. She loved singing in praise, and to her, prayer remained the best medicine.
She toiled as a single parent, teaching her children to grow up to be independent, humble, respectful, self-respecting and generous. Those who knew her well, speak of a very forgiving woman who bore no grudges.
Mphela is survived by her three daughters - Kagiso, Karabo and Philippine - and son Thato, two grandsons, Aluta and Lebo, and her siblings. She will be buried at Nyanyathu in Mhluzi township tomorrow. The service starts at 7.30am.