The children of the deceased, Mashudu (left) and Takalani, photographed at the gravesite of their late mother, Muthuhavhonali Elina Nemukongwe, shortly after the funeral service last week. Seated are the deceased’s grandchildren Arikonisaho and Ritonde.
Those who know the history of education in Makonde and the surrounding villages will concur that almost 90% of the local professionals are the products of the late retired educator and renowned choir conductor Ms Muthuhavhonali Elina Nemukongwe. Nemukongwe (75), who taught for 42 years before she retired in 2005, was buried during an emotional but celebratory service last Wednesday.
A prayer session, which resembled a debate competition by various speakers, was held at her home in Makonde village before she was finally laid to rest at Mukula graveyard. The drizzling rain could not deter thousands of mourners, especially the deceased’s former learners, from being part of the huge crowd that gathered to pay their last tribute to this educational legend.
Representing the family, Wilson Nemukongwe said the deceased had been a hard worker whose contribution to the development of education would live forever. “Together with her late husband, David Nemukongwe, who was also a teacher, the couple played a major role to develop this community through education.”
Sarah Nethenzheni, who was taught and later worked with the deceased, had good stories to tell the mourners during the funeral service. “Mukegulu Vho-Nemukongwe taught many of us how to read and write during our foundation-phase schooling. That was the most difficult work a teacher could do because there were no crèches and preschools then. When I started working as a qualified teacher in 1989, she taught me all the tricks and she was always there to assist. She was a very loving and caring individual who could not even hurt a fly. She wouldn’t allow me to come to work with a lunch box and she provided me with her own for the whole year.”
Muthuhavhonali Elina Nemukongwe was born at Siloam on 24 May 1943. An athlete, singer and bright student during her young days, she later went to the then Vendaland Training Institute to study teaching. She started teaching at Tshithuthuni Primary School in 1963.
She was married to her late husband in 1965. She was blessed with three children, Khathutshelo, who is deceased, Mashudu and Takalani, who are still alive. She also taught at Muhuyu, Makonde and later at Jim Masindi where she retired in 2005.
During her teaching career, she was also respected for her choir-conducting skills, which earned her countless trophies for the junior phase choirs in all the schools she taught at. She died peacefully in hospital after falling ill. She is survived by her younger sister, two children, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Date:06 April 2019 - By: