Durban - An outing to the Kruger National Park turned into a nightmare for a Ladysmith family after their 73-year-old father died of the Covid-19 virus at the weekend.
Andre Keijser, his wife Dirkje and an unnamed 86-year-old friend took a “wonderful holiday” to the reserve on March 5, but disaster struck on the 11th day.
“We had a wonderful holiday and all was well until our return, when Andre started complaining of his sore body,” said Dirkje said.
“He complained about getting cold and I took him to the doctor and we were told that he had mild symptoms of the virus. We returned home and on Wednesday I took him back to the doctor and he was admitted. He passed away last night (Saturday).”
She said it was “heartbreaking and devastating” to lose someone who was strong and fit to the virus. Andre was a non-smoker and had a healthy lifestyle.
“He was a beautiful soul. We were happy and careful about what we ate or did. That was his nature. The trip, as much as I’m not blaming the park or people who were around, has cost us dearly. The sad part about all this, and it’s devastating, is that he passed on alone.
“We weren’t allowed to see him and currently it’s worse because I can’t comfort my children, and they can’t comfort me because I’m in self-quarantine. How do you live with yourself knowing that you couldn’t even touch your loved one’s hand when he needed you most? I wish that people can start taking this virus seriously, because we learnt the hard way.
“I really don’t think they understand the seriousness of this virus. The government has spoken. Can we at least abide by the rules before this virus gets out of hand? It’s my appeal because it’s taken the best part of my family, so I wouldn’t want this to happen to other families,” said the grieving widow.
Dirkje said they spent four days camping at the Berg-en-Dal Camp, four days at Skukuza and the final three days at Satara.
“Satara was hectic. There were people all over the place. There were young people and there were people from overseas. I’m not blaming the Kruger, but I’m saying people, please get it into your minds that this virus is dangerous.
“We are in self-quarantine and it’s not a pleasant experience, especially when you’ve just lost your loved one through this virus.”
Andre Keijser will be cremated but the family still want to have a service.
“Our children, family and friends would like to say their goodbyes. The Department of Health is involved and we’ll be guided by them,” she said.
The Ladysmith Gazette reported that a local hospital had confirmed that Kreijser was admitted after testing positive for Covid-19 and died a while later.