The words of a prophet still echo 100 years on
The prophetic warnings of an Eastern Cape widow during the last terrible pandemic to shake the world have the ring of truth as we battle the coronavirus, writes Mcebisi Jonas
When the last great pandemic reached SA in 1918, one of those who got sick was Nonthetha Nkwenkwe, a 40-year-old widow with 10 children from Khulile, near King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape.
The second wave of the flu that struck that autumn was so virulent that it became known as the umbathalala — “the great disaster”. An estimated 300,000 people died — 6% of SA’s population at the time...