Tell the Stayers about yourself before Covid-19?

My name Seipati. I am a bubbly mother of three, soon to be four, a wife to a wonderful husband, a daughter, makoti, sister and friend. I have a business that sells food and a carwash … that’s my hustle and I love, love it because I love cooking.

Did this diagnosis ignite your fighting spirit or were you always someone who believes in fighting any battle that comes their way?

I have been through a lot in my life that forced me to (Wo)man up. I had to face all my challenges as they came and I learned to rely on my Creator. 2011 was the worst year of my life and I happened to find a Scripture, James 1:2 which says ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds’, and I learned from there on, if not me who else???

How did you take the diagnosis more importantly how did you tell your loved ones?

I got the call during one of those moments where I was sick, and the first thing that happened was that my mother instinct kicked in and I told myself ‘you need to relax, for the sake of your baby’. I told my husband and later told my family who were really scared.

Tell us about Day 1 after you were told about Covid-19 until you were given the clean bill of health?

Day 1 was a relief for me because now I would be treated for the right diagnosis. Remember, I had thought it was all pregnancy related, so when I was given all those drips and blood was drawn I had a sense of physical relief because I had been so sick prior to that. I almost lost my mind when my 14 year old and my husband tested positive, but because they did not have symptoms it kept me calm. Quarantining was made easy because I had my husband and my son in the same ward as me. As days went by we became depressed at different times but were able to cheer each other up. The doctors offered counseling if we needed it. 

I received treatment from day one till the last day, and even went home some of the medication. My husband and son did not receive any medication since they were basically there for isolation and monitoring. The relief we had going home iyoooooo . . . it was a happy day!

How did your loved ones take it?

They were so scared, in disbelief. Those that I was with panicked. They had fear and the worst thoughts in their minds.

Why did you decide on giving this pandemic a face and being the voice for those who are suffering in silence?

Because I myself did not believe it existed, I felt if people knew someone close to them, or saw someone who has/had the virus, they would take the pandemic seriously. I never believed in it because I’d never seen a patient locally who had it – we had only seen videos of people overseas. I felt maybe people were scared to come out, and that if someone spoke before I got infected, maybe my family would not have done something different. Also, I felt if maybe one person came out, more would be educated and share their experiences.

Who inspired you to fight back and claim your health back from this virus?

The day I got my results back I had just got back from the gynae and received the best news that I’m having a baby girl. This made me fight because before this pregnancy I had 3 miscarriages and a stillbirth. To me, it was like there is a reason God answered my prayers by not only making it this far with my pregnancy, but also blessing me with a girl. I took strength in looking forward to carrying this baby and completing my dream of having  2 boys and 2 girls.

Did you have any underlying health issues before your diagnosis?

No one  knows who has the coronavirus. It’s not written on anyone’s faces. You might or might not show symptoms but still be positive. It’s there and it exists. When they say ‘Let the best immune system win’, it’s not a lie because some will be infected and cured unaware.

What do you wish you were told before your diagnosis?

Honestly, we knew what we thought was enough, but I do wish someone had warned me about the physical pain that comes with it.

What would you like South Africans to know about Covid-19?

Do not worry about what people think or say about you because it’s their thoughts and you can’t change them. Take every single day as it comes, as tomorrow is not guaranteed. Spend your life smiling and loving and stop holding grudges. It’s a waste of precious time you can’t get back. Try spending time with loved ones.

What sort of advice would you like to give those who are afraid of the stigma associated with Covid-19 if there is any?

There is stigma. Anyone who has or might experience the stigma should never be ashamed of  Covid. You did not do anything shameful to get it, unless you are one of the reckless people not complying to the lockdown rules. Be bold, fight to get better, don’t focus on those trying to stigmatize you, instead forgive them and kill them with kindness.

How do you look at your life in general? Do you feel stronger knowing you conquered this virus?

Iyoooooooo!!! I feel I’ve been tested in my life. Never did I think I would be a statistic to a virus  that everyone worldwide was afraid of. But I thank God for giving me the strength of a warrior.

We made it Mama!

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