92 Bowery St., NY 10013

+1 800 123 456 789





The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in our country was reported on the 5th of March 2020. The mass media disclosed that a 38 year old male arrived back from Italy into South Africa with his wife and a group of ten other people. Further information shared was that he consulted a private general practitioner with symptoms of fever, a sore throat, headache and a cough. This consultation was made on the 7th of March, we were told.


I had just been elected as the Chairperson of JORETA Diepkloof Area three months before the onset of this deadly infectious disease, caused by the SARS-COV-2 virus as diagnosed by healthcare scientists.

On the morning of the 14th of March 2020, we woke up to the death notice of one of our own, Ms Elizabeth Molewa (not COVID related). This death occurred nine days after the COVID epidemic was reported. At this stage, none of us had a clue about how deadly COVID was.


The Executive Committee promptly proceeded to arrange a memorial service for the deceased. It was held on the 19th of March 2020, four days after the National State of Disaster was declared by Government. This commemorative service was held at her house in Diepkloof Extension. It was a full house, members of the Diepkloof Executive Committee, the GEC (Mother Body) including the Co-ordinator of Hospitality at MB; Mrs Queen Makhubo, were in attendance.

We were singing hymns as speaker after speaker paid tribute by outpouring of love, respect and admiration for the departed member and mostly for family. After the service, the entire Executive team and members were invited to have refreshments at Mrs Thepi Ribisi’s home. A neighbour of Mrs Molewa and a member of the Diepkloof Area.

The entire membership of JORETA, including friends and relatives of the family, had no face masks on, our mouths were not covered throughout the day.


A nationwide lockdown was enforced on the 27th of March 2020. The wearing of a face mask became mandatory. I was later horrified to learn that the spread of COVID-19 was mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Therefore, wearing a face mask was a prevention measure to limit transmission, but none of us had a face mask on during that memorial service.


Someone might say we acted recklessly and irresponsibly. The truth of the matter was that very little was known then, about COVID-19. The Johannesburg Retired Teachers Association is an older persons formation. This has evidently showed that we are a vulnerable group. Our Government needs to be sensitized to our needs. When we find ourselves in such a catastrophe, Government needs to send a clear message to us; warning of the looming danger and this should be done promptly and unambiguously.


We were brought together to that first COVID era memorial service, subsequently to the funeral on the 22nd of March 2020; by our pledge as it is contained in our constitution, that we shall render care and support, reach out in comfort during bereavement to our members. What we should be conscious of, is not to do that to the detriment of our health.


The novel COVID-19 Corona Virus spread like wildfire around the world. It was harsh and unrelenting. Wrecking havoc in many families worldwide. Yes, death is an inevitable part of life, but it became painful for many to bear witness to an overabundance of loss. Some families were completely wiped off. COVID left us with holes in our hearts, JORETA was not spared, the association lost close to fourty members.



Finally, it remains a mystery that none of the members who attended the Molewa memorial service and funeral were infected by COVID. Glory be to God!



Mrs B Mabalane – Kgositsile

Diepkloof Area. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *