Saturday 1 September
At Tsolo (a four-hour drive from East London – the other side of Mthatha)
The funeral of the mother of a former colleague
Cause of death – the state of health care in rural South Africa. She was 42 and had flu, which then became gastro. She died of dehydration from what I can work out. There were no doctors on duty at the local hospital. She went from healthy to dead in ten days. It is a devastating story.
The service was held in a marquee at the home of the deceased. The wind was howling and we were sand-blasted through the open back of the structure, throughout the service. The mfundisi was kind and funny. I only knew three people at the service – bereaved, the colleague who accompanied me to the funeral, and two other former colleagues.
Cause of death – kidney failure related to diabetes. He was in his sixties and had been an accountant for the government in Bhisho. He had excellent health cover. He spent most of the last nine months at a private hospital in East London, having regular dialysis. It wasn’t a surprise, but still, incredibly sad for his daughter, Nosipho, who adored him.
The service was in the Phakamisa Community Hall – much more comfortable than the accommodation of the previous day, but also more grey and sterile and gloomy. I knew lots of people there. Nosipho is well known in the local lesbian community, and people turned out in numbers to support her. The mfundisi was of the evangelical kind who shouted and screamed and tried to save souls. Seems he was successful – two people went up at the end when he invited people to ask Jesus into their lives.
East London won 3 – 2. The EL goalie was brilliant 🙂 .