‘Mama uDelisile’, as the late Margaret Delisile Methula (nee Shongwe) was affectionately known among her colleagues and comrades at the Dawn Park Clinic and the Gauteng Community Health Care Forum (Forum). Zanele Shongwe, her daughter, told us that Methula was born on 15 December 1965 in a village called Nkampani in Driefontein, Mpumalanga.
Mam Delisile started school in Driefontein, attending Qalani Primary before moving on to Qedela but could not complete her schooling. Methula moved to Ermelo Combined School still could not complete school, but she finally graduated from high school later in life, through Thuto-Mfundo in 2011.
Methula started work as a street vendor, cooking food at taxi ranks to provide for her family. She next became a packer at Novasun – a company that supplied fresh produce – packing for Woolworths. In 2011, Methula started off as a volunteer in home-based care before being placed at the Dawn Park Clinic in Boksburg.
Another aspect of Methula’s life was her activism in the Forum, a structure of Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) to safeguard their interests. Patricia Makhubu, the former Chairperson of the Forum, remembered Methula very fondly, recalling that she was welcomed to the Forum by Methula.
“She was the kind of cadre who was welcoming and very patient with new people. She was active in a manner that when we were given a task she would call me and find out how far our side [is],” said Makhubu, before continuing, “we did all our campaigns in Ekurhuleni hand-in-hand, she was part of our strike force,” Makhubu detailed Methula’s participation in the Forum, adding, “she participated in our election team from clinic to clinic, especially in the parts of Boksburg, Vosloorus.”
Shongwe fondly remembers the religious side to her mother, saying she thought them prayer. Shongwe noted that, “life became better in 2020 when they became WBPHCOTs (Ward-based primary health care outreach team).” What does not immediately become obvious is that, “Methula was involved in the permanent campaigns we did as a Forum, actively skipping work just to serve the organisation,” which Makhubo highlights. The ‘permanent campaigns’ is the campaign undertaken by the Forum working with Khanya College where Methula frequented.
Methula was part of study groups and continued studying until her untimely passing on 6 January 2023. She will continue to be remembered fondly by comrades and organisations she worked with like Khanya College.
This article was submitted on 07 February 2023. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.