Community champion dies

Beacon Valley community activist Lorna Ellen Hermanus, 70, has died.

Community activist Lorna Ellen Hermanus, who was a dedicated volunteer at the Mitchell’s Plain Community Health Centre (CHC), died after being sick for a few months.

The 70-year-old Beacon Valley resident helped to usher patients in the pharmacy queue and direct them inside the facility, for 16 years.

She died at home on Saturday May 21 surrounded by her loved ones.

Ms Hermanus was married to Neville for 45 years and had three sons – Clinton, William and Lenville – and adopted daughter Melissa. They also had six grandchildren, Grant, Skylar, Lincoln, Clinton, Leethan and Riley.

Born and raised in Goodwood, she got married and moved to Bishop Lavis for a few years before moving to Mitchell’s Plain.

Aunty Lorna, as she is fondly known, was deputy chairwoman of the Eastridge and Beacon Valley health committee.

Her friend Jackie Isaacs told the Plainsman that Ms Hermanus had been an activist for patient rights. Her term ended last year.

“She brought many issues to the (health services) management’s attention and assisted with putting processes in place to ensure better services for her community,” she said.

Ms Isaacs said Ms Hermanus had been semi-retired as her duties had had to be scaled down during the Covid-19 lockdown.

“Her general health was declining and she and her family thought it better if she stayed at home so as to not put her at risk of catching Covid,” she said.

She still worked from home and would be in frequent contact with the facility regarding issues that were brought to her.

Ms Isaacs said Ms Hermanus had been a great friend and mentor.

“She lived her passion daily, that is to serve the people in her community in any way possible.

“She listened to people with a sympathetic ear and was always ready with a word of advice. She gave her time and effort freely to those in need.

“Her strength, resilience, her spirit of happiness and giving has brightened up so many lives. She never gave up on what she believed in.

“Her legacy of giving will remain in my heart wherever heart life may take me,” said Ms Isaacs.

Solomon Philander, Mitchell’s Plain Sub-council 12 chairman and councillor for Ward 116, extended his condolences to Ms Hermanus’s family, the CHC and the Beacon Valley community.

“This is a real sad moment for the community to hear the passing of a community champion.”

He said she always put other people’s needs before her own without asking for anything in return.

She served on the Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum’s (CPF)’s Beacon Valley Subforum’s executive committee and served as chairperson for about two-years, since 2016.

“She kept regular meetings and ensured that safety activities were happening in Beacon Valley. Like sitting around a fire to prevent illegal activities,” he said.

Mr Philander said Ms Hermanus had been a disrupter of criminal activities in their community. “I had the privilege to serve alongside her on the Eastridge clinic’s health committee, where she served as the deputy chairperson,” he said.

He said Aunty Lorna had been a “true example of a lady” and had been dedicated, consistent and passionate about her community work.

“I can assure the community Aunty Lorna lived day in and day out to find solutions to any complaint received.”

He said that even though patients took their frustrations out on her, she had continued to show respect and in many cases found a winning solution to the challenge presented.

Mr Philander said he had last seen her on Monday May 9 at a Mother’s Day event, where she stood out and had been in good spirits.

“Nobody would have imagined that a few days later she would no longer be with us,” he said.

“We will miss her presence and the role she filled in the community.

“I want to challenge her family, neighbours and everyone who knows her to get involved in the community.

“The community of Beacon Valley needs more Aunty Lornas to build this community and live her legacy going forward. Rus sag Aunty Lorna,” said Mr Philander.

Beacon Valley community activist Lorna Ellen Hermanus, 70, died after a short illness.