Through the work we do, we come across people who leave indelible marks on our lives. In the connections that we make with them, we learn something about ourselves too. We also get an opportunity to regain perspective and renew our gratitude for the seemingly small joys we have in our lives.
As a result of Quarphix running several learnership programs, we meet people from all walks of life who inspire us. Zanele Ximba was one of those people. In 2019, she was one of the learners enrolled for the Quarphix learnership.
Unfortunately, Zanele fell terribly sick in early 2014. That led to the collapse of her lung later that year. Her condition left her dependent on the oxygen ventilator that enabled her to breathe. Due to the condition, it eventually became an obligation to spend most of her time indoors.
To help her plight, there were efforts from our team to raise funds for the ventilator through a CSI initiative.
The ventilator costs ran in the regions of forty three thousand rands. Our Hope for Zee initiative raised around ten thousand. Raising the funds was an uphill battle. Quarphix had pledged to double the total amount raised on the deadline date. However, Zee passed on before we could manage to come up with the required amount. We decided to take the proceeds of that CSI drive, Quarphix’s contribution and hand it over to the Ximba family for the funeral arrangements.
The most traumatic part about Zanele’s passing was that she was due for an appointment with a Pulmonologist that day. She didn’t make the appointment. She passed on in the morning at Tembisa Hospital.
Zanele had a calm demeanour, humility and was eager to live her life unencumbered. The immobility that the condition brought on stole her independence, flexibility and sense of freedom. It was her tenacity that was exemplary to us all and the way she persisted against all odds. Her determination to still learn and develop herself was inspiring. It’s one of the reasons it was the most gut-wrenching day for Quarnedes when Zanele passed on 12 Sept 2019.
In the spirit of taking the bitter along with the sweet, we came away with four life lessons from spending time with her:
Never take anything for granted
The whole experience brought into focus the fact that health is wealth. Zanele was young, upbeat, with the exception of great health – something that eventually proved to be out of her control.
Whatever occurs, people are people
People living with chronic illnesses and other types of ailments want to be treated normally. Just like the rest of us, they yearn to lead ordinary lives. Falling seriously ill or going through a life-altering phase doesn’t necessarily mean a person loses touch with their dreams, aspirations and feelings. If anything, that’s exactly the time when there’s a greater need for hope in their lives.
Empathy is a superpower
Seeking to walk a mile in another person’s shoes can make all the difference in learning about and handling the challenges life throws at us. Compassion also has the power to bring people closer and deepen their connections.
Procrastination steals precious time
Although life will always have us attend to this and that urgent commitment, it’s important that we learn to fully express ourselves to our loved ones. The case of the Hope For Zee initiative taking longer than anticipated to raise the necessary funds had us feeling pangs of guilt. Looking at the situation retrospectively, we wondered whether we could’ve done more, faster, to help Zanele live longer.
Lala ngoxolo ntombi yakwa Ximba! Mlaba. Nondlela. Msuthu. Thusi. Mabhoyi.
Thank you for the life lessons during your time with us. Your existence gave us renewed meaning about life. It was your soul that touched us all.