There is no doubt that the pandemic instilled negative emotions, such as anxiety, uncertainty, fear, anger and shock, to name a few. The shock and fear of life without Mass was unbearable.  A thought that Catholic Women’s League would have to abandon Charity Work was unimaginable.  The Regulations passed under the declaration of the State of Disaster curtailed our civil liberties. Most of us were confused. For some time, there was dead silence amongst Maryvale Catholic Women’s League members; there was no communication at all.

“It never rains but it pours,” is an apt idiomatic expression to explain our situation. A few weeks before the announcement of lockdown we had received the news of sudden stepping down of our President, Theresa Maphai and secretary, Sarah Moore. Both cited unforeseen personal circumstances. Our Spiritual Director Eileen Wanyiri is moving back to Kenya. We are indebted to you ladies for having served the CWL with pride. May you be blessed.

Limenako Matsoso, our Deputy President took over as caretaker President whilst Bibian Emeh filled the secretarial position.

The branch was in the process of holding elections for the vacant positions when we suddenly met with the State President’s lockdown announcement.

Thereafter everything came to a standstill. Despite the challenges, Limenako kept the branch together.

Having realized that charity work would have to continue unabated; an impromptu virtual executive meeting was called. It became clear that we could not function without a proper structure and so decided to hold elections via Zoom. Limenako offered her services as an Electoral Officer and organized everything. She did a sterling job, assisted by Judy Dumbutshena. One would swear they had been trained by Deacon Sy. The elections were held via zoom, WhatsApp and sms, to accommodate all the members. To our pleasant surprise the elections were a great success. Our pint-sized, hard-working, dedicated Regina Pooe was elected President unopposed. She comes with loads of experience as she has been on the hot seat before. She knows CWL like the palm of her hand. Young and energetic Sylvia Kabwe was elected Deputy President. Lisa Avery, also well experienced, was elected secretary. Mamello Masitha, will take over the role of Spiritual Director. This is a strong team. We are indeed blessed.  Congratulations ladies!

A date was set for the first virtual monthly meeting of all members. At the meeting we agreed to continue with our charity work while simultaneously observing lockdown regulations. Amongst others, we would continue contributing towards our charities. Our treasurer Mathabo Pebane presented a financial report. Subsequently, a decision to allocate specific amounts to the respective CWL Charities, including one of our own choice was taken. Further, we could not ignore the impact of National Lockdown on our Parish finances. It was therefore unanimously agreed that a certain amount be allocated to the parish. With that we say thank you to our Priest Fr Tony, Deacon Sy and Maryvale parishioners for the unwavering support.

Unfortunately, some of our members lost their loved ones.  Bibian Emeh lost her husband, Shamba Khumalo lost her mother. May their souls and the souls of the faithful departed Rest in Peace. Mirriam Mwale fell ill and thankfully is recuperating from home. She took leave of absence until she has fully recovered. Indeed, we wish her speedy recovery.

The only physical charity work done during lockdown, was to assist with contribution of peanut butter and jam to Mmamohau in Soweto. Our then Acting President, Limenako, led a delegation that took the items to Mmamohau.


All is not doom and gloom though. Some of the members: our new President, Regina Pooe, the secretary Lisa Avery, Tshepo Masole and the author, Isabella Mlaba are celebrating their tenth anniversaries even during the pandemic. Edna Malebye is celebrating her 20th anniversary. Congratulations ladies.

We strongly believe that the storm, like all other viruses will pass and our lives will return to a new normal.

Of significance is the fact that CWL Maryvale is back in action. We will hold our monthly meetings via zoom and ensure that our charities do not suffer.

Isabella Mlaba   (Maryvale CWL News Correspondent)


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