Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality mayor (EMLM), Bulelwa Gubula has joined the more than 146 000 people who have recovered from Covid-19 in South Africa.
News of the mayor’s positive results broke last month via a statement published by EMLM.
Gubula, who is due back at work on Monday, said having a positive attitude and regularly taking her medication and a mixture of home remedies, including steaming, helped her overcome her battle with the novel virus.
“It has not been an easy journey. Every day when you switch on the news or buy newspapers you hear of people being positive, being sick or dying,” said Gubula.
She said she was tested on the insistence of her daughter and sister, who stayed with her when she had flu symptoms for a week.
“I worked that whole week because I thought it was just a fever and took medication. It was on insistence of my daughter and sister who were avoiding being in the same room as me that I considered taking the test,” she said.
The most severe symptoms, according to Gubula, were on the day she received her results, experiencing a headache and severe cough throughout the night.
“I had felt fine since the fever started. Following that night I called my doctor who told me to relax, continue taking my medication and treat it as flu,” she said.
The mayor said she was not spared stigma, with people shunning her family and even her helper.
“My daughter’s friends were told not to come to our home because I had corona virus. My helper said when she greeted people they looked the other way.
“It is very important to observe the guidelines to protect ourselves and flatten the curve. We work with people. Often, when we are addressing crowds, we lower our masks so they can hear us, but now people think it is okay to take off their masks.
“The president pronounced on that and masks have been made mandatory. We have to practice these guidelines. On my contact list only one person tested positive and at home we practise social distance,” she said.
Palesa Mapaseka from Victoria Park, who is also a Covid-19 survivor, said accepting the situation was the first step to recovery.
Mapaseka was recently a speaker at Nonzwakazi Methodist Church in Mlungsisi where survivors shared the stories of their battle with Covid-19.
“We have to understand that this is the new normal and is the way things are and going to be for the foreseeable future,” she said.
The 29-year-old said attitude was most important in fighting and overcoming the virus. “It can be shocking when you get the news which affects you psychologically.
“You have to understand yourself and accept that you have the virus. You have to accept that you will be alone, separated from people, receiving food under the door and being told to use a different bathroom. If you have a positive mindset and begin to admire where you are, it goes a long way,” she said.
The stay-at-home mom said one of the things which helped her during her recovery was that the whole family had to quarantine.
“When I was locked in my room steaming, they were doing the same. The mixtures we took were not nice, but we were together. We all become cognisant of sanitising and using a mask before interaction. Family support is very important. Their results were negative, but they still stayed with me,” she said.
“What is most painful is that the virus isolates you from people and you are often alone. We can never take for granted the support from friends,” she said.
Lindiwe Wiso, 45, from Mlungisi who also spoke last Sunday said the best way to tackle the stigma was for people to talk about it and be open.
“People need support. Quarantine is very taxing, but to receive the support you need you have to share and be open. Churches can also play a major role by offering support and guidance,” she said.