When Covid-19 hit in March 2020, mothers around the world found themselves caring for their children in extraordinary circumstances as they navigated between school closures and responsibilities at home and at work.
Thandekile (31) knows this struggle of providing for her family too well, as the impact of Covid-19 has been felt deeply by her young family in the rural community of Bulawayo in southwestern Zimbabwe.
In November 2020, the family’s already fragile world was turned upside down when Covid-19 hit. Thandekile’s husband Donovan (35) passed away from the virus in South Africa where he was working to earn money so he could provide for his family.
Following the death of her husband, Thandekile struggled even more to provide food for her family. Grieving for her husband meant that she couldn’t engage in farming activities which delayed the planting of crops and made them even more vulnerable to heavy rainfall.
The last time Thandekile spoke to her husband, he had just finished work in South Africa and had been feeling fine. The following day, Thandekile was told that Donovan was unable to talk or breathe and he was rushed to the hospital where he sadly died from the virus.
Devastated, Thandekile says his death was so sudden that their children are still struggling to accept the fact that they will never see or speak to their father again. “The death of my husband hit me very hard and I was bed-ridden for days. I did not know how I was going to move on and raise my children without the presence of their father,” she says. “His death greatly affected my children too. Donovan was a good father to our children and a good husband to me.”