- Jackson Mthembu's death has hit South Africa hard amid the Covid-19 pandemic
- Invited to the Minister's funeral was Mavis Mahlakoane, a nurse who attended to the politician in his final days
- Mavis heralded Mthembu as a calm, kind soul who remained loyal to his position to the very end
Minister Jackson Mthembu was laid to rest on Sunday in an event attended by the nation's leaders.
Invited by the family was one special individual, not some dignitary, but Mavis Mahlakoane, the nurse who had attended to the politician in his final moments.
Mahlakoane had been asked to speak at the funeral by Thembi Mthembu, the Minister's wife, who had asked for insight into his final moments for those who couldn't be by his side:
“I arrived and greeted him and then introduced myself. What a calm soul. We didn’t nurse a ‘Do you know who I am person?’. Mr Mthembu was kind."
When asked what he would like to eat, Mthembu had politely declined, saying that his wife would be taking care of it:
“I asked him: ‘What can we do for you? How do you like your breakfast and lunch?’. He said ‘no, my wife will bring me food, don’t worry’. I took the phone and called sis’ Thembi, she was also very calm. She brought him fruit salad, that’s what he asked for. He also asked for cheese."
“When they left, Mr Mthembu said to me: ‘I’m okay now, my wife brought me the best salad ever.’
Despite unknowingly lying on his death bed, Mthembu had done his best to entertain his caretakers:
“That day we had a conversation with Mr Mthembu, it was like we knew each other for a long time. He called me and opened his phone and said to me: ‘I want to show you something’. He opened his videos and showed me [Police Minister] Bheki Cele dancing. He said to me: ‘You see this one, I want to show him how to dance when I get out of here, not what he’s doing.’
Mthembu had expressed his gratitude for what the nurse and her colleagues were doing for the nation.
Mahlakoane highlighted that Mthembu had asked for President Ramaphosa until the end:
“Around 5pm when I was preparing his medicine for 6pm he asked for his phone and said: “I want to call my true friend. There’s one who understands me better and I’m so worried because he’s going to be so disappointed."
“Cyril is the man who understands me better than anyone, that’s the man who knows me. At 6:45pm, I told him I was leaving. He told me: ‘Drive safely. Thank you. You prayed with me and my wife earlier on, can you please pray for me.
Recounting his final moments with her, Mahlakoane concluded her time spent with the Minister:
“On Thursday I was allocated to another patient. I just went to greet him and he said ‘sister Mavis, things are hard today. This oxygen is so cold.’ I made him a cup of Rooibos tea. Then asked for his phone and said: ‘Cyril will be very disappointed’.”
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a touching eulogy for Jackson Mthembu as he was laid to rest on Sunday.
Ramaphosa said that Mthembu cooperated with his colleagues and delivered his duties to the best of his abilities.
The president praised Mthembu for executing his tasks with great commitment and accountability.
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