LETTERS | We will quench our thirst in the fruits of her labour

Buyiswa Gxekwa, a brave warrior who dedicated her adult life to serving the rural poor on the outskirts of Whittlesea in the Eastern Cape, and all those like her.
Buyiswa Gxekwa, a brave warrior who dedicated her adult life to serving the rural poor on the outskirts of Whittlesea in the Eastern Cape, and all those like her.
Image: SUPPLIED

We will quench our thirst in the fruits of her labour

This in in honour of our dear mother, grandmother, sister and aunt Regina Buyiswa Gxekwa, a brave warrior who dedicated her adult life to serving the rural poor on the outskirts of Whittlesea in the Eastern Cape, and all those like her. 

She spent the last 12 years of a 30-year career of community nursing at Hackney (eHekeni) clinic in the Whittlesea district. Hackney is mostly inhabited by the poor and elderly. 

Every morning she would leave home in Sada outside Whittlesea and brave the gravel road to eHekeni. The 20km drive is so pothole-riddled it takes over an hour and by the time you get there your internal organs are shaken up. The only instances where she would be absent from her clinic was if she was sick, which was very rare,  or had to attend department meetings or training courses. For her,  the healthcare of her community was paramount and surpassed the “little” inconvenience of getting to the office.

Hackney lies in the slopes of the Katberg Mountain Range and the winters can be bitterly cold. The clinic is a typical rural clinic with modest infrastructure and Sister Gxekwa and her colleagues were often the only access to healthcare this community had.  In this community she was not only a nurse but also a trusted counsellor and confidante to many.  Her community loved her and she reciprocated the love.  

On Monday December 7, she was admitted to the high care unit at  Queenstown Private Hospital struggling to breathe after contracting the coronavirus.  After a gallant 24-day fight this dedicated civil servant, mother, grandmother, sister and aunt finally put down her stethoscope and bid us a silent farewell in the first hour of Thursday December 31. She was only 58.

The tree in whose shade the community of eHekeni could rest and for a moment forget their daily challenges, the family's pillar of strength, has fallen.  She was poured out like a drink offering and we will forever quench our thirst in the fruits of her labour.

Uwile umthi omkhulu, uMafungwashe ka”Daddy”, uLisa, uJambase, uHlathi, uMsuthu. Lala ngo Xolo MaMfene. — from your loving son Thando, grandson Limyoli, siblings, nephews and nieces and the Gxekwa, Adonisi, Kroqwana, Mayoyo and Selani families at large.


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