FORMER Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) employee Francinah Joey Madondo was a gallant woman who was not afraid of challenges.

Madondo, who was admitted to the Helen Joseph Hospital on June 24, which was her 59th birthday, died of asthma complications at the hospital last week.

Madondo had been asthmatic for a number of years.

Neighbours and friends converged on Madondo’s house shortly after word spread that she had passed away. Young and old came to offer their condolences and comfort her daughters on the loss of their courageous mother.

Neighbours described Sis Joey, as Madondo was popularly known in Dobsonville, Soweto, as a hard worker who raised her two daughters single-handedly. The beauty of Madondo’s modest house in Hashe Street, in what is called the “old” Dobsonville, is indicative of her hard work while she was still employed.

Lerato and Zelda spoke about the fond memories they have for their mother. They praised her for bringing them in to the world and for raising them well.

Zelda said she had been a light which shone brightly on her and her sister. “She was everything a child could wish for from a mother. She raised the two us alone and took us through school to ensure we get proper education. We’ll miss our mother. Death has robbed us of a mother, a friend and everything because that’s what our mother was to us,” said Zelda.

Lerato added: “Our mother left us while were still enjoying her. The love with which she raised us, is irreplaceable.”

She said her mother had not been a woman of many words.

“She did not speak much. She was a laidback person who avoided confrontation at all cost.”

Madondo’s dedication and commitment to her job is evident in that she spent years in one – she retired in 2010 after 24 years service.

Born in Sophiatown at the height of apartheid, Madondo relocated to Dobsonville with her family and has not moved since.

She spent her early years of employment with various retail stores in Roodepoort and Joburg in the 1970s.

She leaves her two daughters, Lerato and Zelda, and a grandchild.

The service will be held at home, 759 Hashe Street, Dobsonville, from 8am tomorrow, and the cortege will leave for the Roodepoort cemetery at 10.30am.