By Mthabisi Tshuma
Two Zimbabwean Covid-19 patients, a man and a woman both living in the United Kingdom, died on Tuesday, bringing to four the number of locals whose lives have been claimed by the pandemic in the UK.
Dr Paul Matewele (57), who was a senior lecturer in microbiology immunology at London Metropolitan University, died at Barnet Hospital in London.
The other victim is Ms Thandi Matho Thobela.
Last Thursday, two Zimbabweans living in the UK, socialite and accountant Gardner Madzongo and health worker Sikhanyisiwe Kaziboni are said to have succumbed to Covid-19.
Speaking from her base in the United Kingdom, Dr Matewele’s niece, Ms Mary Matewele, said they are still yet to get an update from the hospital on funeral arrangements.
“We are at a loss of words on the passing on of our family member Dr Matewele. We are still to get information from the hospital on when we are going to bury my uncle.
“The burial arrangements are reportedly being facilitated by the hospital in light of the pandemic and losing a loved one from the virus which has affected the whole world is heartbreaking,” said Ms Matewele.
Dr Matewele grew up in Pelandaba suburb in Bulawayo and moved to the UK at the age of 19 to further his studies.
The deceased’s sister, Mrs Gay Moyo, who is based in Harare, said family members in the country are devastated that they will not give Dr Matewele the send-off he deserves, as they will not attend his funeral.
“It’s painful to know that we won’t be able to attend his funeral as family members in Zimbabwe and there is little we can do because of the current Covid-19 situation.
“His death was a shock and worse the cause was related to what he was passionate about,” said Mrs Moyo.
Dr Matewele had published several studies on the dangers of life-threatening bacteria being passed through cash and public transport.
The other Zimbabwean who succumbed to the virus, Ms Thobela, is reported to have travelled to Zimbabwe last month for the burial of her sister.
Efforts to get a comment from her family in Zimbabwe were unsuccessful as they declined to speak at length with the news crew. They, however, confirmed the passing on of Ms Thobela.
While her details were still sketchy, a friend, veteran journalist Ezra Tshisa Sibanda confirmed that Ms Thobela had recently visited Zimbabwe.
“This is shattering, I’m heartbroken and lost for words.
“Surely l still can’t understand how Mathobela has gone like that. A super woman who has also succumbed to Covid-19, her family has confirmed.
“She was a lovely person, very caring and a true humanitarian. Mathobela’s mum MaTshuma is devastated and can’t believe what has happened to her loving daughter and recently she also lost her own sister in Zimbabwe and Mathobela went there not knowing a month later she would be dead as well,” posted Sibanda on his Facebook page. The Chronicle