Hundred-year-old Madala nervously eyes the Covid coffins and thinks he might be next

Mkhuseli Sizani

Madala Sindile Sidina is watching the old people from his area die.

Covid cases have spiked again in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro area, and Madala knows the older you are the more likely you are to get sick or die.

As he sees the coffins sink into the ground, Madala fears he could be next.

Madala from Motherwell NU 9 in Port Elizabeth is 100 years old and says he is still strong like an ox.

  • He has never been admitted to hospital in his entire life 
  • He only went to a doctor once before he turned 100 on 27 October 
  • He survived the hard life of a farm dweller and worker during apartheid 
  • He had 10 children, four of whom are still living, and three generations of great-grandchildren

Madala said he will talk about any subject – just not Covid-19.

He told Scrolla.Africa, “I am very strong like my late father and his brother. My father died at the age of 102 and his brother at 104.


“I was born and grew up in the farms between Uitenhage and Kirkwood. Life was not easy because of hard labour. We were planting and milking cows on the farm.” 

“The only time I saw a disaster was during Renepesi (rinderpest). It’s the time when huge insects destroyed our crops.

“I was very young but already stick fighting. They left us with no food to eat in our fields. The whole country was overwhelmed by them. 

“But please don’t talk about Covid-19 in my house. I am too scared of it. I have never seen a disease that kills people every day. I keep on washing my hands three times a day and stay indoors. I always wear my mask and avoid contact with people. I am no longer even going to the shop to buy my chicken because I live in the hotspot,” he said. 

Madala revealed his secrets for a long life: “Don’t eat too much red meat or drink too much alcohol. Better eat them and drink once in a while during traditional functions. Every day make sure you exercise, like working in the garden just like me. 

“All my life I have been drinking traditional medicine especially for flu-like Umhlonyane,” he said. 

His daughter who is the sixth born, Nomfanelo Sidina, 54, said: “My father is too scared of Covid-19 and he always wears his mask. We warn him not to wear it when he is sleeping. If we talk about Covid-19 we have to use a different name for it. 

“He is partially blind but is not on any treatment. He believes in drinking his bitter muthi. But to have him is a blessing. We hope Covid-19 won’t take him away from us. The only time in my life I saw him sick is when he complained of a running tummy and waist just before his birthday.”

The spike in Covid-19 cases in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro is becoming more alarming as many of the biggest townships are becoming hotspots. 

On Tuesday the municipality released a media statement about the latest results. 

As of Monday the Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize released the latest figures. The country’s total recorded deaths from Covid-19 are 20,978, recoveries 711,195 and active cases 37,596.

Residents are encouraged to observe all the protocols and to make use of mobile testing centres situated in their areas. 

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