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Cheerio to our golden girl, Lee-Ann Pillay

By Tinzwei    DEATH delivers painful, eternal blows. But since we are mere mortals, we can’t just wish death to die.  Today, I sti...

By Tinzwei 
DEATH delivers painful, eternal blows. But since we are mere mortals, we can’t just wish death to die. 

Today, I still tussle to embrace the passing on of Lee-Ann Pillay, a past colleague. Without regret, she reformed countless lives in her short existence, mine included. She was the glue that held us all together. She was a strong woman and fought for whom and what she believed in, a colleague mentioned. 

My original encounter with Lee-Ann was on the 18th of October, 2009. Together with a friend, we had journeyed to Pietermaritzburg for job interviews. Our destination was Golden Horse Casino, as would-be bartenders. 

From the onset, she exuded an aura of expertise, a motherly counsel and a rare intellect. She was eloquent in her beliefs, possessed an indisputably hard working code. Lee-Ann struck me with her gift to calm a storm with her exquisite smile, matched by an unusual poise. 

On the 22nd of October, 2009, my 30th birthday, we commenced work as bar personnel. It was never easy for me, as a foreigner. But in Lee-Ann I had located a sanctuary of comfort, a unifier. Never, in my three year term did I hesitate to approach her, though she had a proverbial no nonsense approach, though it was reserved for professional motives. 

In late 2010, the South African government revealed their intentions to offer work permits to foreign nationals. A stamped company letter was one of the prerequisite to acquire the documents. I approached Lee-Ann. She never hesitated to assist. 

The succeeding day, we trooped to the Home Affairs offices along Church Street. A month later, I availed the permit to her. She said to me: “Just say, thank you Lee-Ann.” I reciprocated her words. And I left for my shift. This was one of her famous saying.  

The Pillay family was a marvel to many. Kelvin, Lee-Ann’s husband was an even-tempered man. One day we made a trip to Harry Gwala Stadium for a match between Maritzburg United against Orlando Pirates. Kelvin Pillay drove his car. My wife, Tinashe and myself were passengers. We spent the night at the stadium, reveling as one family. Our home team had won. Around 10pm, he dropped us home. That was Kelvin for you.  

In 2011, I left the casino. Lee-Ann would sit me down, before my departure. For a year, I pursued other interests. Unfortunately, the fortunes were not as I anticipated. At the onset of 2013, I phoned Lee-Ann. She gave my previous job back. Probably the first and employee last to do so. She would say: “you owe me a chocolate.”

Sadly, Lee-Ann, I never got the chance to buy you a chocolate. But my soul will forever celebrate your life. At GoldServ we were a happy family. Yes, we had our trials, but your character kept us intact. You were the wind behind our triumph. 

Beyond your death, you left a trace of enduring legacy. Though I am miles away, you still remain my spur. Our distance must not hamper us to love people. Let’s continue to dispatch prayers for the Pillay family. Rest in peace Lee-Ann, our golden girl. – Tinzwei.   

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