On the sad passing of Operation Hunger founder Ina Perlman, we should all devote a moment’s silence to reflect on the herculean achievements of this great lady.

The diminutive icon was a wonderful example of selfless service to her country. She would never have expected any form of adulation, but the country owes her a tremendous debt of gratitude.

My grandmother told me that if one can exit this mortal coil having made a small difference to leave the planet in a better state than when we entered, our stay here would have been worthwhile.

Well, the feisty Ina Perlman made a massive difference. It always amazes me how Homo sapiens glorifies the wrong personalities.

Film and pop stars are idolised and receive enormous volumes of media publicity and many fat cat self-enriching politicians receive the honour of expensive state funerals when they expire. But when a heroine such as Perlman dies, she receives a few centimetres of column space in newspaper obituaries.

In an era when racist apartheid policies caused great suffering and inequality, Perlman founded Operation Hunger, which did what the National Party government should have been doing, by rendering many years of desperately needed assistance to poor communities.

As often happens when the inspirational founding figure moves on, Operation Hunger crumbled from its former majesty when she retired.

Hamba kahle, Mama Ina. Go well. You made that difference and you deserve your rest. I am sure a special place in heaven has been reserved for you. I extend heartfelt condolences to the Perlman family on the loss of their matriarch.

I wish them all a long life. SA is now a poorer place with her passing.

Patricia Pleasance

Northmead, Benoni