Siyanda Ndlovu
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
18 Jun 2021
1:40 pm

Covid-19 loses the fight against 101-year-old Gogo

Siyanda Ndlovu

She was born while the Spanish flu was killing millions worldwide, and now she has beaten another pandemic-causing virus a century later.

Anna Matlhaela, a 101-year-old woman, is expected to be released this Friday from Mediclinic Vereeniging after beating Covid-19.

At first she complained about tiredness, a few days later she could not move and at some point was unresponsive but that is “normal” for someone at the age of 101 years.

Anna Matlhaela was born in the time of the ravaging Spanish flu in 1919 which infected about 500 million people, a third of the world’s population at the time, and killed roughly between 20 million and 50 million people.

This woman has seen and survived it all.

Her daughter, Maria Morake, 77, is still baffled and trying to digest the news of her Covid-19 survival.

“First I do not have a single idea how she may have contracted the virus because she is always indoors,” Morake said.

Matlhaela survived the world’s deadliest pandemic (the Spanish flu), lived to witness the times of World War One and Two, the rise and fall of apartheid and the coming of freedom. How at 101 years and six months she has survived Covid-19.

She is is always indoors, We are a small family that has always been cautious of the existence of Covid-19.

Morake said that her mother had always been active even now at her advanced age.

“She is used to doing home chores and walking around the house, but some three weeks ago she started complaining about tiredness.

“It never crossed our minds that she might have contracted Covid-19 because we have always been practicing non-pharmaceutical measures in our home, considering that we have an old women of her age in the home.”

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She said Matlhaela was admitted to hospital last week after doctors referred her to Mediclinic in Vereeniging on Tuesday.

“Upon receiving the news she tested positive for Covid-19 we were gutted, we felt down and we never thought she would make it, especially at her age,” Morake said.

Morake could not hide her joy and expressed gratitude at her mother’s survival.

“Like any other person would, I feel relieved and happy she has made it this far and still going strong.”

Matlhaela was due to be released from hospital on Thursday but doctors opted to wait a little longer while they monitor her.

Morake said that she might be discharged on Friday should the doctors give the go-ahead.

“I cannot wait to welcome her back home. I have not seen her lately because we are not allowed to do so but I have been told by the doctors she has responded well and is ready to come back home.”

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