An Ode to My Mother-in-Law, Winnie Serobe By Gloria Tomatoe Serobe

Gloria Tomatoe Serobe, née Ndaliso, married Gaur Serobe in 1987, following a six-month courtship. And so began Gloria’s 26-year relationship with her mother-in-law, Winnie Serobe.

Winnie Serobe was born in Thaba ‘Nchu in 1933, in a deeply racialised South Africa. Yet she transcended all the barriers put in place by the South African government, and society at large, to become a nurse, midwife, community builder, social entrepreneur and leader. In the course of her marriage to Andrew Serobe, for 40 years, during which they became parents to five children, she was never only a wife and a mother.

This book is Gloria’s ode of love, honour and respect to her mother-in-law, whom she referred to as Mama. It brings to life the story of a Winnie Serobe, who we may not read about when we look at the heroes and heroines of this country, but who served those around her every day.

She remains memorialised in the hearts and minds of those for whom she fought for the right to be educated; buried with dignity; and provided with the best quality healthcare – particularly for mothers and their unborn and new-born babies. Throughout her remarkable life, Winnie Serobe ‘saw’, ‘heard’, and homed some of the most vulnerable, stigmatised, ostracised and perhaps forgotten members of her community.

Throughout this life well lived, she nurtured and mentored Gloria as a makoti of the Serobe family. She reframed marriage, family and service for the young Gloria, lessons which Gloria shares in the pages of this book.

print edition