Former teacher was at peace in the end
We should be celebrating Koko Philla Mamoi Magoro's 84th birthday today, but instead we are preparing to bury her tomorrow.
Her fellow Mothers' Union members at the Presbyterian Church in Zone 2, Meadowlands, Soweto, have lost one of their staunchest members - a pillar of strength to elderly churchwomen.
With the permanent smile she wore, the retired teacher, who completed her teacher's course at Kilnerton Institute in 1947, is no more.
On her sick bed Magoro seemed to know that she would not make it for what should have been her big day.
Last Wednesday she telephoned her confidante in the family, Mmane Rebecca Mooki, and told her how she wanted to celebrate her birthday today.
She had been in and out of hospital for a while, battling an ailment that was eating her away. But, Christian believer that she was, she kept her head high and fought on.
"I am calling you for the last time," she told Mooki. "I wanted to slaughter a sheep and enjoy a meal with all the children, but I won't make it and I am happy that you know what I wanted for my birthday.
"I also wanted to be with those I have not seen for a long time."
Tomorrow, those whom she had not seen for a while and had longed to be with on her birthday, will gather to pay their last respects.
Magoro was one of the few who seemed to have made their covenant with God.
This week saw scores of people visiting her home at 10578 Percy Khumalo Street, Mzimhlophe, Soweto.
She was born at GaMamabolo in Limpopo and schooled at GaDikgale primary and Mankweng secondary schools before training as a teacher.
Her first stint as a teacher was at Motsemoholo High School in Winterveldt and she taught at Bafokeng Secondary School in Rustenburg.
To her only daughter, Lizzy Sibeko, and her two grandchildren, we say: your loss is our loss too.
The funeral service will be held at the Presbyterian Church in Meadowlands at 8am and the cortege will leave for Lenz Cemetery at 10am.