LINAH LEAVES A FINE LEGACY

SOUTH Africa, more than Meadowlands, Soweto, has lost a true community builder in Linah Maluleke, who will be buried at the Doornkop Cemetery in Soweto tomorrow.

SOUTH Africa, more than Meadowlands, Soweto, has lost a true community builder in Linah Maluleke, who will be buried at the Doornkop Cemetery in Soweto tomorrow.

Her name is synonymous with loving, caring, giving and bottomless kindness. It is a life worth emulating but hard to match, especially if you do not have the heart for Maluleke's speciality - nurturing disabled children. She died last Thursday from heart-related complications.

Maluleke - who started the Vutomi Inyiko Multi Disability Stimulation Centre in Meadowlands, Soweto - was the Gauteng winner of the 2004 Sowetan, Old Mutual and SABC Community Builder of the Year Award.

In the same year she became inaugural winner of the Clover Mama Afrika Award, which helped her to form a thriving corporate social investment and responsibility relationship with the dairy products company.

This saw her start and run a sustainable food garden at Vutomi Inyiko and another at the Tiakeni Primary School, also in Meadowlands, with a group of medical students from the University of the Witwatersrand.

On March 11 Maluleke - speaking at a shoot for a local television show paying tribute to Sowetan pioneer nation-builder and the newspaper's late editor-in-chief Aggrey Klaaste, said she was inspired to start Vutomi Inyiko by her own disabled child, Lancelot, who sadly passed away in September last year.

"Caring for my son taught me how to learn to love, care for and nurture other disabled children," Maluleke said.

"Most of the children were grossly misunderstood by their parents and siblings. In the end I was able to help the community not to shun, or hide their disabled loved ones."

Maluleke's niece, Felicity Maluleke, said Vutomi Inyiko would not die.

"She was a role model, life coach and mentor, who taught us many things," Makukeke said.

"Between me and several other young women who were running the centre with Mama Linah, we will keep it alive as a perfect tribute to her fine legacy."

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