Irene – A diamond in the rough

Irene van Niekerk in 2015 with two young Pangoville residents Kiana en Renier Bezuidenhout. File photo: Chantelle Fourie.

Irene van Niekerk, the manager of the white informal settlement called Pangoville, which is situated in Munsieville, has died, and now the camp is without its care-taking jewel, mother and rock.

Van Niekerk complained of stomach cramps on 6 May and was taken to a doctor. Because she didn’t have medical aid, she was taken to Leratong Hospital for a screening.

Read the initial article here: Karavaanparkopsigter Irene van Niekerk oorlede

The doctors believed she had a bowel obstruction, and operated on 8 June to remove it. They thought that her health would improve, but, after spending a long time in the Intensive Care Unit, she had to go for two more operations.

For a while it seemed as if Van Niekerk’s health was improving. She was taken off the ventilator and after a few weeks, she started talking again.

She then started having breathing difficulties and doctors told her family that she had contracted a lung virus. She started talking in a confused manner, and – because she wasn’t getting any better, doctors told her family to prepare for the worst.

By that time, her husband, Hugo, and Irene (jnr), her athlete daughter, had spent more than R20 000 driving to and from the hospital every single day.

“But it was worth it,” said Hugo, “because I got to spend time with her.

“On Wednesday, 2 August, I had a lengthy conversation with her, and she told me how she loved her daughter and all her grandchildren. She talked confusedly, and then she fell asleep. Friday morning, the hospital called us and told us she had passed away – the ambassadress of kindness had died.”

Irene (jnr) chewed the inside of her lips until they bled after her mothers’ death, and the whole camp was shattered – sad because their ‘kind mother’ had died.

Van Niekerk will be buried on Tuesday, 15 August at 1pm. Her service will be held at 53 Waterval Road, Randburg. Should you wish to attend, please contact Nicky or Angelique on 076 246 5710.

Read more about Irene van Rensburg in next week’s edition of the Krugersdorp News.

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Bianca Pindral

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