Relebogile Mabotja's brush with death a lesson

Relebogile Mabotja has struggled with potentially deadly allergies since she was a child.
Relebogile Mabotja has struggled with potentially deadly allergies since she was a child.

Skeem Saam and Isidingo actress Relebogile Mabotja is hoping that her near-death experience at a restaurant in Johannesburg last week will serve as a lesson.

Mabotja was rushed to Arwyp Hospital in Kempton Park on Tuesday after she ate a salad at Col'Cacchio restaurant with a dressing containing nuts, which she is allergic to. She was treated at a clinic in Emperors Palace before being rushed to hospital where she spent the rest of the evening before being stabilised and discharged.

Mabotja told Sowetan that she thought she was dying when she started having a reaction after eating the salad.

"I could have died. My family is fully aware of my allergies since I was about five when I was diagnosed with asthma and I have carried my medication around since then," she said.

Mabotja was having a business meeting with three colleagues when she ordered the salad. She said she asked the waiter and the chef the ingredients in the salad dressing numerous times but they insisted the pesto dressing did not contain nuts.

"For a few moments when my lungs were closing very fast I thought this was a close call but because I have been through this before, as soon as I got to the clinic at Emperors Palace I told them exactly what to give me and they were really great."

The radio 702 host said she was disappointed to learn that the restaurant hid its ingredients from staff due to what it called an intellectual property clause.

Even though she narrowly escaped tragedy, Mabotja said she was having talks with the restaurant in what she hopes will become a lesson for them.

"We are in conversations with the owner of the restaurant to see how we can resolve this. I just think they must use this opportunity to do some good. Obviously, their staff are not trained properly," she said.

"I am not calling for a waiter to be fired or a chef to be fired; it's not their fault. I just think if we could use this opportunity to raise some kind of awareness of the fact that people are allergic to many things and we just have to be careful."

Col'Cacchio founding director Kinga Baranowska said they had offered Mabotja compensation.

"We are still in talks with her. She has asked us to do [an allergy awareness] campaign with her in lieu of paying her. We have offered to pay her hospital bill but she would like to actually do good and turn this negative situation into a positive," Baranowska said.

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