A dark shroud hangs over an Island community.
Thursday, Dr. Joyce Madigane, lost her short battle with cancer. She was 72 years old.
Dr. Madigane was a woman respected by almost everyone who crossed her path. Her passing has left a hole in the hearts of those who loved her, which, by most accounts, are countless people across this province and beyond.
She cared for countless Islanders and their loved ones during her years as a physician in her adopted home. She tended to the sick, spending more hours than can be counted, seeing patient after patient until everyone’s needs were attended to.
To some, like former Lennox Island Chief Darlene Bernard, Dr. Madigane was a surrogate mother, someone Bernard loved and cared for as much as the woman who gave her life.
Her loss is one that will have a lasting impact and her legacy one that cannot be put into words.
For 40 years, Dr. Madigane practised medicine in Tyne Valley and surrounding communities, touching untold number of lives in the process.
Generations of Islanders grew up in her care.
Countless poignant tributes to the loving and caring doctor, who many felt was like a mother or grandmother, have poured in, in the days since her passing.
Social media has been littered with heartfelt messages and photos from those whose lives Dr. Madigane touched during her time with us. There are photos of a smiling Dr. Madigane holding a newborn baby or with a child she cared for, now all grown up, on their wedding day.
There are many who cared, many who loved and many who mourn the loss of such a remarkable woman, whose life spanned three continents.
Born in 1941 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Madigane would move to South Africa in 1956 to attend boarding school. In the face of apartheid, the strong-willed woman with what has been called a quiet strength found a way to make the country her home.
But, in 1960, when things escalated and peaceful protestors were killed, she would leave South Africa, moving back to Zimbabwe for a short time before attending medical school in England.
It was in 1974, to the fortune and blessing of our small Island, that she decided to make Tyne Valley her home.
And it is that home, one where she lived for four decades caring for its citizens, which now must heal and deal with this tremendous loss.
Dr. Madigane, your legacy is not easy to put to paper, as it would take years to tell of your impact and your value to all who have known you.
A community, an Island and its people thank you for your service and your life, and mourn with tear-filled eyes and heavy hearts your passing.