Edendale leader dies at 93

2012-01-06 00:00

A LEADING member of the Edendale community, Leonard Elijah Milford Nkosi, who celebrated his 93rd birthday last year, died on New Year’s Day. His health began failing in November and he died in hospital.

Nkosi was particularly proud that he was born in July 1918, in the same month and year as Nelson Mandela. When interviewed on his birthday, he attributed his longevity to being young at heart and having married his wife, Sibongile, at the age of 89, after being a widower for some years.

Nkosi was from one of the founding families of Edendale. His great-grandfather came to the area from Swaziland in the early 1800s as a follower of the Reverend James Allison and a member of the early African Christian community, the Amakholwa.

Nkosi was considered an expert on Edendale history and he was committed to the upliftment of the area. He was chairperson of the Edendale Landowners’ Association up until the time of his death and was involved in a number of restoration projects including the building of a hall for the youth near the Edendale Society Methodist Church.

To carry out his activities, he drove his car up to the age of 92 when family members stopped him, concerned for his own safety and that of other road users.

Nkosi completed his primary school education in Dannhauser and attended high school in Durban. He did his teacher training at St Chads in Ladysmith. He taught at 33 different schools during the span of his teaching career. After retiring, he taught Zulu at Alexandra High, Epworth and Indumiso College.

After 1994, Nkosi became a councillor in the Msunduzi Municipality. Although well into his 80s by then, he is remembered by officials as one of the few councillors who read his council agendas and minutes and who asked tough questions.

A large gathering attended Nkosi’s funeral yesterday at the Edendale Society Methodist Church. He was buried at the historic Georgetown Cemetery, where families of the Amakholwa are buried.

Nkosi was the father of Dr Nomasonto Nkosi, a senior manager and one time medical officer of health at Msunduzi Municipality. He leaves his wife, five daughters, two sons and 18 grandchildren.

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