FRANCISTOWN: Former media entrepreneur and Mmegi lensman, Kebofhe Mathe coughs incessantly as he bravely relates his story of survival from the monster coronavirus that continues to decimate lives globally.
At times his painful cough lasts long, so much that telling the story of his survival becomes a challenge. Mathe, a media practitioner-turned horticulturist was recently on 10-day isolation after he tested positive for COVID-19. He is on the path to recovery.
It all started with irritations in the throat, which suggested to him that he was probably catching common cold or flu. His business partner has had flu with incessant cough.
“I took him to a private medical clinic around March 2, 2021 and he was given the pertinent medication,” explains Mathe, who previously co-owned the now defunct The Nation newspaper.
Mathe’s business partner would the next day request for a COVID-19 test and the results came out positive. Mathe tested and his result came out negative, much to his relief.
It took three days before he ordered another test, which to his shock came out positive this time around.
Once he was declared positive, he says his health changed with flu symptoms hitting him hard, one thing that suggested to him that it was anxiety now that took its toll on his health.
It was particularly on the third day of the diagnosis that the disease accelerated with his body carrying a heavy load of fatigue and anxiety. He was concerned at the development. He took the medication religiously but on the sixth and seventh day of the isolation, he started sweating badly.
“It was on the sixth day of my isolation, just in the evening, when I started experiencing painful and dry cough which was getting very frequent and accompanied by headache. The following day I was hit by dizziness now,” reminisced Mathe.
He then decided to take as many concoctions as possible including drinking beetroot juice in an effort to take his battle to another level. He would then quickly lose his voice as flu accelerated, but he vowed that he was far from losing the battle, albeit it was tough. He resorted to steaming with hot water as an endeavour to combat the virus as the throat continued to itch.
He felt he was losing the battle as his sense of taste continued to fail him, but fortunately, he still had his appetite. Eggs, liver and other food items were tasteless. Fortunately, sweet potatoes, fruits and vegetables were normal and that is what kept the horticulturist going.
At that time, Mathe’s body was seriously taking a knock as the virus continued to hit him very hard. He coughed profusely and at night it denied him the opportunity for a peaceful sleep. Every time he delayed taking his meals, fatigue and weakness will creep in.
Where did the virus come from?
Mathe is still at a loss to explain how the virus hit him because most of the time, he complied with the COVID-19 protocols as wearing his mask, washing his hands or sanitising and keeping the requisite social distancing.
“I have been thinking maybe the virus penetrated the mask. I have however, realised that since January this year, I travelled almost every day going to the farms and going to the shops for supplies,” he conceded.
Mathe and his partners have farms at Mogonye and Thamaga where they have been doing some construction work. Mathe emerges from his sick bed having learnt that COVID-19 has hit this country badly. Unfortunately, he says people only come to agree that the disease has hit them when one of them is infected or has passed on. His appeal to people is to reduce travelling when it is not urgent, wash their hands and keep a reasonable distance apart.
“The whole country is affected and I blame travelling for having exposed me to the virus. I warn people never to lower their masks as they enjoy their conversations. It is risky,” he warned.
He concedes that they tried a lot to reduce the risk, but travelling is what exposed them to the virus. “We had no choice as we got our supplies from various shops as we are setting up new farms.”
Mathe and his partners have been working around the clock to set up the farms in their quest to feed the nation through horticulture. Lately, they have been drilling boreholes and erecting the requisite structures and so on.
He feels lucky that his family lives in Francistown; otherwise the whole family could have been exposed as well.
Lately, regular exercise has been helping his body to recover from the pains and other complications. “The disease affects people differently; some tend to lose their memory, some experience tiredness whist others don’t experience any bodily pains at all,” said Mathe encouraging people to test when they feel they are under attack.