She was doing what she was passionate about — caring for people.
That is how the brother of Livingstone Hospital nurse Sindiswa Madonci remembers his sister, who died of Covid-19 this week.
Nelson Mandela Bay municipality councillor Masixole Zinto said he believed Madonci had got sick at work, as no-one else in her household had tested positive for the coronavirus, but the family had made peace with that reality.
“My sister in a sense sacrificed herself by working on the front line.
“But we take comfort in knowing that she was doing what she really wanted to do.
“After she got sick we prayed for every morning that she would get through it.
“In the end she didn’t, but she was passionate about her job of nursing and we are comforted by that.”
Madonci, 58, was born in Middledrift and after matriculating studied nursing in Keiskammahoek.
She then worked at the local SS Gida Hospital before moving to Port Elizabeth.
In the Bay she worked first at a Motherwell place of safety for children and then at Dora Nginza Hospital, before moving to the oncology department at Provincial and then at Livingstone.
Zinto, who is the DA’s spokesperson for infrastructure and engineering in the metro, said when he matriculated and wanted to come from Middledrift to Port Elizabeth to study, his sister had taken him in.
“She was already married by then, but she accommodated me and looked after me. She was very caring.”
He said he had last seen his sister in 2019, but had spoken to her in January.
In April she had got sick and had complained of back pains.
“On April 28, she was so weak and tired she could not walk.
“She was fetched by an ambulance and taken to St George’s.
“I heard about it and rushed to the hospital but she was already inside, so I never saw her.
“Instead I talked to her husband outside.”
On May 3, the family had got a call from St George’s, he said.
“They told us she had tested positive for Covid-19.
“On Tuesday, she died.”
On Thursday, as part of arranging the funeral and working out costs, Zinto and his niece Zimasa, 36, visited Madonci’s insurer in Govan Mbeki Avenue to check on Madonci’s policy.
“They asked us about contact with any Covid-positive people.
“We said no because neither of us had been in contact with my sister for some time.
“But then they saw in the documentation that we had brought along that my sister had died of the virus and they told us to leave.
“I pointed out how long ago we had last been in contact with my sister but they said we must go outside and rather communicate via WhatsApp.”
Zinto said he had argued further, explaining that his sister had got sick at work.
“My sister lived in Swartkops Valley, NU5 Motherwell, with her husband and her son.
“Neither of them has tested positive.
“You can’t stigmatise and discriminate around this virus. It’s wrong.
“I have a voice and we will bury my sister.
“But I am worried about those who have no voice on this matter.”
Stigmatisation around the virus had to be eradicated, he said.
“People in the township who are Covid-positive are hiding because they feel ashamed and consequently they are infecting a lot of people.”
Madonci leaves her husband, Mthuthuzile, three children and two grandchildren as well as Zinto and a sister.
The family will bury her on Saturday after a funeral service at her home in Motherwell.