Above: Roy van Rooyen from e’Bosch, councilor Esther Groenwald, Norah Tobo and dr Sias Mostert from e’Bosch.

– Elsabé Retief

Norah Tobo, an assistant nurse at Tygerberg Hospital, was going to be late on Wednesday 23 September to receive her certificate at the e’Bosch award ceremony in the Ou Landbousaal. Certificates were to be awarded to people who had been nominated by their communities for their heroic work during lockdown.

However, as a nurse and a caring neighbour, that morning she first had to attend to her neighbour’s child, who had suddenly fallen ill. Duty comes first, then recognition, is clearly her credo.

Nora experienced the lockdown life as very hard and difficult in Kayamandi, especially for the many people that were unemployed and so too, for the many that had lost their jobs.

“During this time, I came up with a plan of having a soup kitchen to assist those who sleep hungry and have no hope of find anything to the eat the next day,” Norah explained.

She contacted Thumakele Gosa, community leader in Kayamandi, and asked him if he could not try and get some supplies for her “as it was heart-breaking to eat and sleep, knowing there are people that sleep on an empty stomach”.

Norah Tobo.

Norah Tobo.

When she heard there was a neighbour that had not eaten for the whole weekend, she put extra pressure on Thumakele for supplies, as the situation was truly dire.

Norah then began a soup kitchen on her off days from the hospital.

“Sometimes I cooked and asked my son and the neighbour’s daughter to assist me in dishing up for the people. Even when I was working, I noticed that they still came and knocked and asked for food while I was sleeping.”

“I cook for everyone, young and old. I only serve the food at suppertime, because going to bed hungry is not good,” says this very wise and caring woman, who continues to dish up help and hope for her fellow citizens.