The 101-year-old granny from Mzingazi in Richards Bay says it is by God’s grace that she survived the deadly coronavirus pandemic at her age.

Gogo Chithekile Hlabisa from Richards Bay in the City of uMhlathuze, spent four weeks in Ngwelezana Hospital beginning of the year after being infected with the virus. Having battled for the heart condition for better part of her life, she thought that was the end of her life.

What she thought was the last stroke was when she lost one of her daughters Ms Nelisiwe Hlabisa, who succumbed to the same virus.

Asked about what keeps her going as far as reaching a century, Chithekile said it is only believing in God Almighty that gives her all the strength she needs. “Wumusa kaNkulunkulu nje ongigcine ngaze ngaba ngaka. Ngibonga uMdali ngalesi sikhathi anginike sona sokuphila emhlabeni,” said Gogo Chithekile meaning it was God’s grace that kept her up to this graceful age and thanked the Almighty for the prolonged days she has received.

Gogo Chithekile also encouraged other senior citizens to take the jab. “I have been waiting patiently for the vaccine. Having survived Covid-19 and being hospitalised for this virus can be a scary episode. I was happy to hear that now we are vaccinating. All people of my age and younger than me should take the vaccination as soon as possible. I was afraid a bit about it but upon getting more information about what it intends to, I wanted to take it as soon as it arrives,” Gogo alludes.

City of uMhlathuze Mayor Cllr Mduduzi Mhlongo showered gogo Chithekile with gift including a wheelchair, blankets, sleeping gown, comfortable slippery shoes and two baskets full of fresh fruits. Mhlongo appreciated gogo Chithekile for being exemplary in the vaccine programme.

“We were happy to hear that gogo Hlabisa at her age survived this deadly virus which was targeting the elderly and the vulnerable. Her resilience is encouraging to everyone that we can indeed defeat this pandemic as long as we follow all the government protocol of firstly acceding to taking the vaccine, especially those who are 60 years of age and above and secondly by following the non-pharmaceutical measurements of ensuring cleanliness, keeping to reasonable social distancing and to avoid large crowds of people in an unventilated areas,” Mhlongo said.

Mhlongo also encourage all elderly citizens to vaccinate. “In the City of uMhlathuze we have more than 20 vaccine sites and some senior citizens will be vaccinated in their homes. We urge all people to take this opportunity and vaccinate as this is for now, the only medical measure to prevent this pandemic,” Mhlongo said.

Gogo Chithekile responded well to the vaccine conducted by the Ngwelezana Hospital Outreach team and served her 15 minute observation period without any complications. Four other elderly persons vaccinated and responded well. Gogo Chithekile and others will take the second jab next month.

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