Call her “Sister Sha”, call her “Matron Sha” or call her simply “Sha Begum Mathadeen”, depending on your relationship with her.
To me, she was Diana Ross, not due to any vocal prowess, but more akin to resemblance and pulchritude – a combination of all the qualities that delight the senses and mind of anyone blessed to be in her company.
Undoubtedly, she has left an indelible mark in the local nursing fraternity and a footprint in the local community.
The huge crowd that assembled at her home (3 Kandahar Avenue) bore testimony to the respect, high regard and love hundreds of people had for Matron Sha.
She was born in Colenso on March 12, 1959, and matriculated at Windsor Secondary School. She was besotted with Joan of Arc and Florence Nightingale from a young age, so unsurprisingly she pursued nursing as a career.
Initial story: Sister Shah sadly passes away in hospital #RIP
Being part of a financially challenged family, she chose to devote her life to uplift the quality of life of the poor and indigent.
She grew a passion to ease the pain of patients, especially the frail and aged, irrespective of colour or creed. This attitude shone throughout her nursing life.
Florence Nightingale was called “the lady with the lamp”; Sister Sha became known as “the lady with a heart” by the sick and injured during her service as a junior nurse right up to her position as matron.
She laid down strong foundational principles in nursing and her multi-tasking role contributed significantly towards the development of the nursing profession into structured institutions wherever she donned her nursing uniform and cap. She did justice to her profession!
She married her childhood bosom friend, Zaid Mathadeen, and the union was blessed with three beautiful daughters – Shakeera, Shazia and Sadiyya.
She practiced what she preached and this was borne out during the long illness of her husband, who passed away in Durban on August 3, 2017.
During his hospitalisation, Sha Begum even made daily trips to Durban on some occasions to do justice to her employment and duties as a responsible wife.
Notwithstanding her small physical stature, Matron Sha was a towering figure in the local nursing comradeship. She pioneered methods that have modernised hospital care and welfare.
I was honoured to be MC at numerous social events at La Verna and my comprehension was that despite her position in the hierarchy of La Verna, she was never aloof to lend an ear to her colleagues to resolve matters of concern.
I pictured her as a lady with an iron hand in a velvet glove – she was firm but fair. She served the local La Verna private hospital as matron from 2004 until she was afflicted with an illness that she could not treat herself.
She understood the ramifications and fought gallantly until the early hours of last week Sunday morning, when she resigned herself to our Creator.
May her soul rest in peace, and may her children and family have the fortitude to overcome this huge loss with comfortable resilience. Matron Sha served, and served well.
Due to religious reasons, a photo could not be used.