26 March. The anniversary of a brutal virus


Today marks a year since the first day of lockdown due to the coronavirus – and what a year it’s been.

In spite of all the precautions and protocols the brutal virus raced through the nation, sparing nobody, making no allowance for any sector.

Since the hard lockdown started on 26 March 2020 the virus has taken legends, pioneers, and many people we have come to know and love from their prominent roles in our lives. 

On 27 March 2020 – Madeleine Van Wyk was the first South African to die from Covid-19 – since then there have been over 50,000 Covid related deaths. 

31 March 2020 – Gita Ramjee, Scientist and researcher in HIV prevention.

13 May 2020 – Lungile Tom, eNCA camera operator. 

13 July 2020 – Zindzi Mandela. 

19 July 2020 – Moonyeenn Lee, agent and casting director of The Bang Bang Club and Tsotsi. 

20 July 2020 – Phelisile Nyishe died. He is hailed by his sister, Nozipho Nyishe who says when Covid-19 took her brother, it took her shoulder to cry on. “My brother was everything to me. My kids loved him and listened to him.” 

18 August 2020 – Sibusiso Mseleku, Sport journalist. 

Nkululeko Khanyi lost his uncle, two aunts and one cousin who died between October 2020 and January 2021. He said his hope remains in God’s hands as more of his family members are suffering from the virus. 

11 November 2020 – Mongameli Bobani, former mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality passed. 

December 2020 – Gee Six Five, real name Nkosingiphile Selepe, who lived life to the full every day, succumbed to the virus. 

7 December 2020 – Dawn Lindberg passed. Along with husband Des, they were often in conflict with the apartheid government. Somehow their song, The Seagull’s name was Nelson never attracted the attention of the politically biased censors.

Musician Nathi Mankayi lost both his parents during the festive season. “In the past two weeks I lost my dearest mother and father and experienced the darkest days of my life.”

Gospel icon and multi award winner Dr Tumi lost his father in December. In a heartfelt tribute on Facebook, he wrote, “It was such a great honour to be called his son.”

22 December 2020 – When people in her community were having difficulties in their marriages or relationships, they turned to gogo Evelyn Tlhabane for wisdom and advice. She saved many marriages and provided comfort to many families through her vegetable garden. 

4 January 2021 – South African food legend lovingly called Mam’ D, Dorah Sitole, died from Covid related complications in early January. At age 67, Mam D had just released her cookbook named 40 Years of Iconic Food

5 January 2021 – Nurse Mohlatlego Mathekga said she knew the risks involved in her job. “She was a kind and gentle soul. Everybody wanted the best for her,” said her brother Moyahabo Mabeba. 

6 January 2021 – King Victor Thulare III. The Bapedi King died from Covid related complications. He had only been in the position since July 2020. 

13 January 2021 – DJ Wandi Nzimande’s death shocked the fashion and entertainment industry in Mzansi. Tributes poured in for the co-founder of streetwear fashion Loxion Kulca. 

21 January 2021 – Jackson Mthembu, Minister in the Presidency died from virus related complications. A medical helicopter transporting one of his doctors crashed on the same day, killing all five on board.

31 January 2021 – Tozama Mantashe, sister of Gwede Mantashe. Tozama was an MP serving in the trade and industry portfolio committee. 

2 February 2021 – Kgothatso Nthle, or Banzo as he was known, fell ill in December and tested positive for coronavirus. He battled the virus up until he finally succumbed.

4 March 2021 – Karima Brown, Senior journalist at eNCA and host of current affairs show, The Fix passed. She was marked by fearlessness and a willingness to take on politicians, newspaper editors and other figures in authority. 

7 March 2021 – Peter Matlare, deputy CEO of Absa bank passed away. He had previously been CEO of the SABC, Tiger Brands and Primedia and an executive at Vodacom.

12 March 2021 – King of the Zulu nation, Goodwill Zwelethini kaBhekuzulu died at age 72. He had been ill with diabetes and succumbed to Covid related complications in hospital. 

These are only some of those who have fallen. It is too numerous to name them all, but they are all lost and remembered by those who loved them. May they all rest in peace.


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