Awesome Onnie, is mother to all

Onnie Gumbi works as a cleaner at McCord Hosptal. PHOTO Rudy Nkgadima.

COURAGE means many things and it doesn’t always manifest in a dramatic way. Onnie Gumbi wakes up at 4am everyday to prepare for work at McCord Hospital where she has worked as a cleaner for the past 17 years. She takes a bus at 5am from Ntuzuma to her workplace, to begin her 11 hour shift. Gumbi, just like thousands of other women, is expected to juggle work and raise a family in this hyper competitive world. Despite having been regularly knocked down by life’s events, each time she dusts herself off, gets back up and carries on.

“I always wanted to be a nurse but unfortunately it did not turn out that way, but I was fortunate to get employment at McCord Hopsital, which ironically brought me closer to my dream. I started out as a general cleaner and then was moved to work at the Doctors quarters. It was here that I got to meet and interact with many doctors, both local and abroad. My job is to ensure that the place is clean, but being a mother myself, I had to go the extra mile to help some of them on how to converse in Isizulu, how to make their bed, iron their clothes and many other things. Basically, I became their mother. They requested that I become the house mother because of the work that I was doing,” said Gumbi.

ALSO READ: Iconic McCord Hospital features in new book

Gumbi lives with her ten children and is a single parent after the death of her husband in 2004. When asked how she managed to juggle work and home, Gumbi said she didn’t know how she did it, but believed that the Lord did not give you more than you can carry. In order to supplement her salary, Gumbi also sells Tupperware on weekends. “I cannot tell you how much I love my job. I regard this place as my home, everybody wants their homes to be clean and that is what I do here. I am very committed, I want the floors and showers to be clean,” she said.

Sharon Govender who is Gumbi’ supervisor says she is grateful to have someone like her in her team. “She is very honest, loyal and dedicated to her work. One of her greatest traits is that she gives her time to the newbies, guides people and is just an overall awesome person,” she said.

 

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  AUTHOR
Rudy Nkgadima

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