Disbelief as 88-year-old dies after explaining how he survived Covid-19
Shortly after he inspired thousands of people when he went on video explaining how he had beaten Covid-19, 88-year-old New Brighton resident Kolekile “KK” Kwatsha has died.
Kwatsha, who owned KK Butchery in the Port Elizabeth township, died at Netcare Cuyler Hospital on Sunday in Uitenhage, after he was diagnosed with a lung infection.
Kwatsha had been admitted to hospital the previous Sunday after he fell sick with flu-like symptoms and was diagnosed with a lung infection.
Family and friends said his death was a huge blow but he would be remembered for his humility and big heart.
His eldest daughter, Nobathembu Kwatsha, 47, said the family was shattered and had not expected him to die so soon after recovering from the coronavirus.
“My father’s death was painful, even if he was old. As a child, there is never the right age to let go of a parent.
“His recovery gave people hope.
“I don’t know how many phone calls we received after his recovery story was published,” she said.
Details of Kwatsha’s recovery were published in The Herald on July 14.
He had been admitted to Life Mercantile Hospital on June 15, and two days later it was confirmed that he had Covid-19. He was discharged on June 22 and completed his recovery at home.
In the first week of July, he recorded a video in which he explained his recovery, saying he hoped it would be an inspiration to others.
Nobathembu said Kwatsha lived for his family, business and community and to honour his memory they needed to continue his legacy and excel.
“As deeply hurt as we are, we are grateful for the time and years he was with us, the valuable lessons he taught us — he will forever be in our hearts,” she said.
Kwatsha started his business in 1978 and expanded it over the years, creating employment opportunities for many.
“When they first told me that I was positive for Covid-19 and I was admitted to hospital I was shaken, but I told myself I would not give in to the virus. I would conquer it.”— HeraldLIVE (@HeraldPE) July 14, 2020
Kolekile KK Kwatsha pulling some Bruce Lee-like moves as he describes how he beat the virus. pic.twitter.com/NWN8yRiG3G
Former Springbok team manager and owner of Blawa butchery, also in New Brighton, Zola Yeye, said Kwatsha was a down to earth, accessible man.
Yeye said Kwatsha inspired him to open his own business — not to compete but to complement each other.
Yeye said Kwatsha was an unsung hero who contributed greatly to the New Brighton community.
“The great tree has fallen and our hearts are sore. Just weeks ago we were so happy about his recovery that inspired many — little did we know that he will pass on so quick, but we hope and pray his soul is at peace.”
Family friend Dr Lindile Soga said Kwatsha was like the father he never had and he was shocked when he heard of his passing.
“I was so relieved to hear about his recovery and we were boasting about it and inspiring people [through] his strength.”
He said Kwatsha respected everyone.
Kwatsha leaves his five children and nine grandchildren.
Family and friends will hold a drive-through memorial service on Wednesday from Centenary hall to Embizweni square in New Brighton.
He will be laid to rest in Greenbushes on Thursday.