Boots on the Ground: Behind SA’s national headlines

PODCAST | The children orphaned by Covid-19

Sindiswa Lugulwana comforts two of her grandchildren, aged 13, whose mother, Phumeza, died of Covid in January. Phumeza, 45, and her twin Phumla died within hours of each other. They are shown in a portrait held by Phumla's eldest son, Sande, 20.
Sindiswa Lugulwana comforts two of her grandchildren, aged 13, whose mother, Phumeza, died of Covid in January. Phumeza, 45, and her twin Phumla died within hours of each other. They are shown in a portrait held by Phumla's eldest son, Sande, 20.
Image: Esa Alexander

Listen to their stories here:

Grace Rohan cannot understand why at seven years old she no longer has a daddy while her mother, who is in her 40s, still has hers.

The grade 2 pupil from Durban and her 18-year-old brother, Daniel, are mourning their father José, who died of Covid-19 in February, a month after he turned 51.

About 1,600km away in Langa, Cape Town, Sindiswa Lugulwana, 70, asks God to grant her a long life. She cares for three orphaned grandchildren whose single-parent mothers — twin sisters Phumla and Phumeza — both died of Covid-19 in January at the age of 45.

And in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, Dewald Badenhorst, 14, is mourning the death of his father and his stepmother, who died days apart in January. He is being cared for by his brother, Billy, 24.

Today on Boots on the Ground: Behind SA’s national headlines, we listen to the stories of those who the pandemic has left orphaned. We take a moment to remember the people they have lost and to mourn with them.

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