September 27th 2010
We had terrible news confirmed this week of the death of Zandile Langa, one of the healthworkers who's been working with us in Nyanga, Capetown.
From the very first minute we met her in March 2011, Zandile impressed us with her humour, her compassion and her commitment. She is described by her colleagues at SACLA as being "irreplaceable", and we agree. Her family, her friends and her patients must all be devastated - her death is truthfully a dreadful loss to her community.
She died, we understand, from an acute asthma attack. It's hard to believe that someone so vibrant could be taken so suddenly, but her death stands as witness to the fragility of life when there is not the readily available level of healthcare that we take so much for granted in the developed world.
She fully understood, we believe, the possibilities behind this simple treatment. She was determined that it should be taken into the squatter camps in the heart of the township, where there is the least resource of all. She wanted to develop self-supporting groups of moxa patients. The idea resonates with one the core ideas of the wider project - offering the most powerless and the most voiceless some better control over their health and their destiny.
Our prayers are not only for Zandile's family, but also that this dream might still be realised.
Zandile will not be forgotten. She truly emblemised the courage and commitment of the many women who comprise the front line of this desperate battle against drug resistant TB - women who daily come face to face with its ravages, who do this with courage, composure and compassion whilst being themselves at risk of catching the disease themselves.
Zandile, your spirit lives on and your smile still inspires us. And we will do our best to honour you in our continuing work.