Celebrating the life of Venelia Nomuhle Mhlaba-Thatha

Celebrating the life of Venelia Nomuhle Mhlaba-Thatha
Published: 21 July 2015 (1441 Views)

Today the 21 of July 2015, instead of mourning Venelia Nomuhle Mhlaba-Thatha for her passing on, I have chosen to celebrate the life of a very remarkable personality, my sister-in-law and personal friend Mrs. Mhlaba-Thatha. Mrs. Soneni Matiwaza rightly put it to me, we need to accept her going away, after putting up a fight in form of prayers, God said, let her come and rest, then we should be reconciled with that arrangement, God's will has indeed been done here on Earth as it is done in heaven, much as we would have wished her to live longer, she had to say, she ends here.

Mrs. Nomuhle Venelia Mhlaba-Thatha shared my life well in the early 1970s when she worked as a social worker with the Bulawayo City council. She worked with my mother Mrs. Sihwa and my brother Charles Thatha. She was senior to me and it was not always easy to engage in youthful activities with her, she kept a close sisterly guidance that gave me unspoken limitations, a challenging teenager like me. Her invitations to visit her place at Mpopoma where she lived, should have told me that she was indeed a potential suitor to my brother Charles, they worked together at Tshabalala Youth Centre.  

The opportunity to go abroad and study arose because there were many Zapu political activities in Bulawayo. My brother left for UK together with his fiancée Venelia Nomuhle Mhlaba. I left Zambia for East Germany in 1978 together with her sister Ms. Carol Mhlaba. Ms. Carol Mhlaba and I benefited from them being in the UK because they looked after our immediate personal needs, they sent us clothes and many other necessities we could not get in East Germany, a socialist country back then.

I was invited for their wedding by Venelia herself and she told me that my presence at their wedding was going to be a blessing for them both. I made all the effort to attend the wedding at Brother Onias Mangena and his wife Alvena. It was attended by well-wishers that cut across race and ethnic divides; exactly a week after Princess Diana and Prince Charles Windsor had had their global wedding. The wedding of my brother to Venelia was a great relief to my mother Mrs. Sihwa. She blessed the wedding in a special way as she loved Venelia as her future daughter-in-law in the home. She was concerned and she feared her son's inability to make firm decisions regarding his future welfare. Their wedding put my mother at ease and she thought nothing can go wrong after that firm commitment, a wedding!

After the grand wedding Venelia progressed in her academics and went for a Masters degree in Home Economics at the University College of London, a qualification she passed with flying colours. The death of my mother Mrs. Sihwa, Venelia's mother-in-law, presaged doom for her. Without her mother-in-law, nobody was able to convince our brother about the need to keep the marriage intact. Venelia rose above all confines of narrow thinking within the family circles. She demonstrated at every angle her uttermost maturity and irrevocable love to all of us in the Thatha family and relatives. Mrs. Thatha, she maintained it after the marriage had collapsed long back, she continued to embrace us in her life as her in-laws. If their marriage was a Christian one, indeed no man shall put asunder!

Mrs. Venelia Mhlaba-Thatha was an educationist; she worked as a PEO in Mathebeleland and Midlands. She loved her job and executed her job descriptions to the best of her ability. She carried herself with great dignity in all aspects regarding her work in the Ministry of Education. To emphasize her intellectual muscles that were evidently eloquent in her academic and work-employments could be and underestimate. Many teachers who have served under her administration will concur that her easy accessibility as a senior in the Ministry of Education and how she assisted them in their personal challenges in regards to their family situations, assisted them profoundly. She was able to listen to all teachers' needs and challenges and she helped them. In her eyes no person was less or more than the other, she loved humankind, and she served humankind.

I am indeed very proud to have kept my friendship to Venelia Mhlaba-Thatha to the last days of her life. I am happy too that she harboured no hard feelings towards the family Thatha as her personal development had transcended above those confines of hate and prejudice. Those noble interventions you did that improved my personal life, thank you, Venelia. Those clothes, boxes full, you bought me when I was in East Germany, thank you Nomuhle. That money you sent me when I was a student in East Germany, thank you, Venelia. Your emotional presence in my life boosted me and I found a friend in your abundant life full of love, thank you Nomuhle.

Indeed you have gone too early we say, our coming to join you there, were everybody goes to, is given. We are not permanent in this life, it's just time difference. We are guests in transition ready for a journey to permanent settlement, where you are present now. Sleep well Princess; remember your daughter Nomathamsanqa will need your divine intervention. She is blessed for having you as her mother. She will cherish this for the rest of her life. Sleep well Princess Nomuhle. Asakhile lapha, where you are now is the safest place ever. Where you are right now there is no pain. Sleep well Princess; sleep well, MamHlanga, e Mhlanga. In my eyes uliqhawe, and you will remain and remind me as one of the finest people who has ever been so near me.

Your little sister

Your sister-in-law

Nomazudlwana wakho

- Nomazulu Thata

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