In Loving Memory

My 58-years old mother, Movies Maforule Mashego passed away at approximately 17h30 on May 20th. It was the climax to a painful and short battle against chronic leukemia (blood cancer). She succumbed to the disease at Charlotte Mxcenge (formerly Johannesburg General) Hospital following weeks of chemotherapy treatment. She complained about pain and tiredness.

My mother, who was born in the Vaalhoek district of Pilgrim’s Rest on 12 November 1950 was a woman used to action, a woman who went to Johannesburg in 1976 and worked for Susan Myerson for all these years. Myerson was at pains as she was the one who had the unenviable task of making the telephone call. “Goodenough I’m very sorry. Your mother has just passed away”. Then she went on a guilt-trip, “I should have done more but I didn’t”. I kept reassuring her that she did all she could and the situation was beyond her control. She was sobbing uncontrollably, “I loved your mother so much”. I was now the one comforting.

My month earlier situation was that when I made a call to my hospitalized mother and she told me that the diagnosis was blood cancer and that the doctors told her that she had been harboring active cancer cells for the past 30-years I started expecting the worst while hoping for the best. How she was responding to treatment was not encouraging either. My brother Katise, who has an understanding of prognosis went to visit her and SMSed me ‘she’s trying but it’s hard’.

From that time I had been preparing myself for ‘that’ call. It finally came last Wednesday from a sobbing Susan.

The following day I took the 600-plus kilometres journey to Johannesburg. I met Susan and we had our first hour-long chat. We discussed her adult children, she told me soothing stories about my mother, I told her we need wisdom in doses to understand why we have to stomach loss and move on without grudges. She was deploying a napkin to wipe her tears. I assured her that she didn’t have to cry for her ‘friend’ but to appreciate the fact that they spent three decades together, raising her three children in the process. “She was my sister, my mother, my grandmother, everything to me. I always thought we would grow old together”, she stammered. The old woman was in mourning.

The following day I went with my aunt Leftah to the hospital mortuary for a positive identity and to collect my mother’s things. It was my first time in a mortuary but I walked out relieved. My mother finally looked at peace – the suffering was over for her.

She has lived her life, though not to the fullest but has raised generations of children, both black and white. She has taught her daughters everything from cooking to baking. She had learnt and taught others how to knit and design clothes.

My mother was loved by so many people I was humbled just sitting outside her room and scores of people I have never met before walked in to pay their last respects. Elders from her local Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation came through. The mood was only painful because we were brought together by loss, but overall there was a unanimous feeling that she has lived her life productively and touched so many people. She has set the basis of how she will be remembered.

As I made the long journey back to Mpumalanga I felt that I shall not cry for a woman I loved so much when she has been freed from the shackles of pain. I felt that it would serve her memory well if everybody remembered her love, humility, passion for life, readiness to help and charitable spirit instead of her untimely death. People should remember how she lived and celebrate that instead of mourning her departure. Her faith in Jehovah prepared her to accept death as a temporary measure, and it’s such unwavering faith that people should carry in their hearts.

She is survived by her 83-years old mother, two sisters and scores of children, grandchildren, friends, relatives and a congregation of Witnesses that embraced her. She was be buried on May 30, 2009 at Shatale Township.


  1. I'm sorry to hear about your mom. It sounds like she was loved by a lot of people.

  2. Anonymous6/12/2009

    Man! I amso sorry tyohear about this sad news. NOt that It would have made any difference but I just guess my conscience is suing me for at least not being there. Anyway, I am just in my ups and downs and never hear from you. I hope you are coping well. Remeber,if you have a chance to come over to Nelspruit,do not hesitate to get in touch,brother!
    In case you misplaced my contact,here it is Owen Cassinga 082 405 5247

  3. I know this is like MUCH later and I had already conveyed my sypmathies but ooh your piece just reminded me of my loved ones who have crossed over and ITS JUST NOT easy. I hope time will really heal but never to be forgotten and she was so young.. ugh...
    Keep well


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