Your absence has gone through me.
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

– WS Merwin

Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself and then stand up for someone else.

– Maya Angelo

We salute these fallen soldiers and pay tribute to them for their commitment to serving the people of South Africa until the very end.

– Health Minister Zweli Mkhize

Bravery is not the absence of fear. Bravery is feeling the fear, the doubt, the insecurity, and deciding that something else is more important.

–  Marl Manson

Words provided by Athol Williams, poet and social philosopher. He has authored 14 books and over 100 of his poems have been published in literary publications worldwide. He is the recipient of 6 literary awards and is the only poet to receive the Sol Plaatjie European Union Poetry Award twice. Athol holds 5 Masters degrees from Oxford, Harvard, LSE, MIT and London Business School.


On the 5th March, just a few short months ago, as I write this note, the first COVID-19 patient was identified and confirmed in South Africa. With that confirmation, South Africa was pitched into battle against a virus from afar that had already caused havoc across Asia and Europe, and was heading into the Americas. The battle to be fought was clear from what we saw unfold in those territories: hospitals were overrun, staff in hospitals were under tremendous stress, and the full tragedy of the suffering of people was plain to see. When the virus arrived in our country, in other words, our nurses, doctors, hospitals staff, regulators and legislators, and our leadership at all levels and across sector, knew full well what we faced. Yet no one flinched; no one fled; no one raised the white flag. Our nurses, specialists, doctors, cleaning staff, front desk personnel – everyone – responded magnificently, even putting themselves on the line, every day.
Our healthcare heroes left their families at night and at daybreak to don protective gear, to treat the afflicted, and to comfort the sick and affected and their families. Tragically, many have been lost in the struggle.  They have given their lives to protect us, and our families. Through them, we have stood firm against the virus so that we can greet a new day and return to treating the ill and infirm. To those we have lost, we will never forget you. We will remember you. Your sacrifice, like a seed blown into the soil by an unkind and capricious wind, will yield a strong tree under which generations to come will find rest. You are, always and forever, in our hearts.
Dr Biren Valodia, Chairman of the Board
On behalf of the private hospitals of South Africa

"Our progress would not be possible without the dedication and professionalism of our doctors, nurses and other health personnel. We pay tribute to them, many of whom have been infected and some who have lost their lives taking care of others."

– President Cyril Ramaphosa