Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
A FAMILY in Victoria Falls lost two siblings aged 45 and 37 years who succumbed to Covid-19 in South Africa resulting in their three children and two brothers being quarantined.
Ms Senzeni Mele Ndlovu (45) who is survived by two children and her husband, died last Wednesday at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg while her young sister Ms Thabisile Mele Ndlovu (37), who leaves behind a child died the following day at the same hospital.
Thabisile, a teacher who once taught at Tsholotsho High School, was a principal at Basa Tutorial Institute in Soweto while her sister was doing menial jobs in the neighbouring country.
The two siblings lived with their two brothers and three children in the same house in Naturena suburb, Johannesburg.
A Chronicle news crew spoke to the devastated family members in Victoria Falls yesterday and they requested pictures of the deceased not to be used due to their traumatic experience.
Mrs Irene Ncube narrated how her younger sisters died. “This is a painful thing that has befallen the family. We couldn’t believe it when we were informed by other family members about the death. It’s really hard to accept that such a situation has happened and all that we are left with are memories of the loving and hilarious girls that they were,” said Mrs Ncube.
She said Thabisile was the first to be taken to Chris Hani Hospital on June 29 after complaining of chest problems and difficulty in breathing.
Mrs Ncube said her younger sister was not attended to on the first day and was only treated on June 30 when her condition deteriorated before her death on Thursday.
Senzeni was rushed to the same hospital on June 30 in the evening and died the next day at around 3AM.
“Thabisile complained of difficulties in breathing and went to hospital on 29 June but was not attended to until the next day. On 30 June, I was speaking to Senzeni on the phone around 5PM and she didn’t sound unwell as she only complained of headache and coughing which we didn’t think could be serious.
“At around 9PM the same day we were told that Senzeni had been rushed to the same hospital where Thabisile had been admitted. She was admitted around 11PM and died around 3AM the following day. The two didn’t meet in hospital as Thabisile had been moved to another ward where she spent the whole day and died a day after Zenzeni’s death,” said a distraught Mrs Ncube.
She said family members in South Africa informed them that authorities confirmed that the cause of death was Covid-19.
Mrs Ncube said her sisters’ three children and two brothers have since been quarantined.
She said the family wants the bodies to be repatriated for burial in Mapili area under Chief Matupula in Tsholotsho.
Mrs Ncube dismissed claims that one of her quarantined brothers was not feeling well saying they were in communication with the family in the neighbouring country.
“We are in communication with everyone and no one else is sick. The others have been placed on self-quarantine. The bodies are at a parlour waiting for documents and we expect the process to be completed end of this week,” she said.
The family said it would have loved to conduct the burial of the two siblings live on Zoom so that relatives and family members who will not be able to travel because of the lockdown can follow proceedings but they will only record a video and share it later because of network challenges in their village.
By yesterday evening, South Africa had recorded 187 977 Covid-19 cases and 3 026 deaths — @ncubeleon