Former Shingwedzi high school boarding school matron hailed as a heroine

Former Shingwedzi board hostels matron dies aged 93

Benson Ntlemo

The name Vusiwana Edna Maluleke may not ring a bell to some in South Africa but to most women who stayed at Shingwedzi board hostels, she was a heroine who changed their lives.

Her family announcing her death, said she died on April 14 after a long illness.

She was buried yesterday (Thursday) in Malamulele cemetery.
Regarded as strict during her tenure as the matron, many of the girls who were at the hostels during the time now appreciate the role she played in their life.

The pic of the late Shingwedzi high matron granny Vusiwana Edna Maluleke

One of them Khensani Khosa, who is education specialist for inclusive education at the department of basic education has made a tribute poem in her honour of “the heroine who changed my life and the lives of many girl children.”.

Khosa who is also a motivational speaker, singer and poet said: “She was strict, there was no teenage pregnancy at Shingwedzi, never. If a learner staying at the hostel fell pregnant, it could have happened at home during the holidays, not at Shingwedzi.”

“She was a woman of iron with an iron hand, the hand that groomed most of the girls at Shingwedzi,” she said.

She said during bioscopes on Fridays, she made sure girls and boys were separated in their sitting arrangements.

She even monitored them when they went to event such as soccer games.

“During Sundays we attended church, we sang and she enjoyed singing,” she said.

She said she did not tolerate dirt in the women residences and she taught them to iron their clothes.

“We did not appreciate it at the time but as we grew up we realise how much she has contributed positively to our lives as we went on to be professionals,” she said.

Another ex-Shingwedzi learner Philistas Tshauke said: “I am so emotional by the outpouring of love. I am what I am today because of the mother. Not related to us, yet she loved us as her own children. I can still hear her voice waking me up during evening studies, Coleman lamp in her hand…”

Tshauke who is now a respected community builder and public speaker said: “She forced me to do well. Where would I be and many others without her persistence? She gave us more than silver and gold can buy. I am truly indebted.”

She was born at Kurhuleni Mission Station on 22 June 1928, being the second born child of john Maganu and his wife Queen Chavani.

She attended her primary education at Xilaxu primary school until Standard V.

She married Robert Maluleke and they were blessed with four children.
She started working in Springs as a domestic worker. From then she came back to Limpopo and worked at the Mountain Inn lodge at Rionde.

From 1964 she started working at Shingwedzi high as a matron, looking after girl children at the hostel.

A member of the Presbyterian Christian Church, she became a respected member of the church choir.

After she retired as a matron, despite her advanced age, she was a leader at Malamulele Care of the Aged.

She was a respected matron known throughout the country until 1995 when she retired.

Her son Thumbha Maluleke, a retired traffic officer said his mother worked for the community and enjoyed it.

She was buried at Malamulele cemetery yesterday in Limpopo Province.
She is survived by four children, 14 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren.

Etlela hi ku rhula ntombhi ya Mlambya, masiya yi govile, yi govile hi vurhena

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