For 30 years librarian Nomachina Wanga has selflessly served the community of Khayelitsha with humility, respect and dignity, but last Friday she called it a day.
Former colleagues, friends and community members all gathered at Masakhane library in Khayelitsha to bid her farewell.
Laughter and funny stories were the order of the day as they reminisced about the time they had spent together.
The 60-year-old mother of three was described as a caring and loving person who was full of life.
Ms Wanga started her career as a security guard at Khayelitsha library in 1989 and spent two years in that role.
But her willingness to learn, work ethic and dedication soon saw her being promoted to an office assistant at the library.
She said she worked extremely hard to make sure everything she touched turned to gold.
Just six months into her new position, she was made an assistant librarian in 1991.
She said for years she worked tirelessly to serve the greater community of Khayelitsha with pride.
After years as an assistant librarian, in 2010 she was promoted to a full-time librarian.
Ms Wanga said the City conducted a job evaluation and it was then discovered that she was supposed to have been promoted to a librarian a lot sooner. In the same year, she was moved to Masakhane library.
Over the years, she said she has created long-lasting and meaningful relationships with the community members of Khayelitsha that she will forever cherish.
Ms Wanga said she never thought she would become a librarian but that changed over the years and she developed a passion for books and community development.
She realised that being a librarian meant that she had a duty to play a role in the community.
Reflecting on her journey, she said she was heavily involved in politics during her youth years and that at some point it nearly cost her her job.
She said she never studied to become a librarian and when she started she only had Grade 11, but she later enrolled at night school to complete her matric and did some short courses.
She believes it is important to learn from others and work hard to do better every day as that was the key to succeeding in life.
As she looks back, Ms Wanga said she has no regrets about her work as she believes she has done everything possible in her power to make a meaningful contribution.
“As a librarian you must show love through your actions. When you are dealing with a child, put yourself in their shoes, the same as when you are serving an adult. But love and care should be demonstrated all the time. We must not respect our managers and disrespect our community. We are here to serve them, without them we would not have jobs. Passion and drive to make a difference should be your traits if you want to be a librarian,” she said.
Talking about future plans, she hopes retirement would provide her with some time for leisure and bonding with her children. She plans to open an educare or after-care centre because her love for children goes beyond the call of duty.
Senior librarian at Masakhane, Nomonde Sotashe, said Ms Wanga leaving was a massive blow for the library. They knew the time was coming for her to retire but wished she could stay.
Ms Sotashe said when she was appointed to lead the library, Ms Wanga was the first to welcome her with a smile and hug.
Ms Sotashe said she has learnt a lot from her vast knowledge.
Librarian at Masakhane, Thembeka Nguta Mcosana, echoed the same sentiments about Ms Wanga and shared funny memories which left everyone in stitches.