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'We couldn’t say goodbye’ - son on dad's lonely death after contracting COVID-19

The last time Maliek Fagodien saw his dad was when hospital staff wheeled him into the hospital “pale and struggling to move”.

Maliek Fagodien is advocating for South Africans to adhere to the lockdown regulations after his father contracted the coronavirus and passed away in isolation in hospital. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - "I couldn’t comfort him or hold his hand. I couldn’t pray by his bedside or read from the Quran… We couldn’t say ‘goodbye’…"

These are the words a heartbroken Maliek Fagodien used to describe how his father died alone in hospital after contracting COVID-19.

Fagodien’s father, a respected and well-known elder in his community – the voice of the call to prayer at the Kapteinsklip Masjid – did not get the large send-off everyone always expected that he would get.

The last time Fagodien saw his dad was when hospital staff wheeled him into the hospital “pale and struggling to move”.

Fagodien’s father stayed indoors and only left to go to the shops.

He said that it angered him to see members of his community in Mitchells Plain disregard the lockdown regulations, walking the streets “like it’s the December holidays”.

"If you get infected, there will be no one to comfort you and say their goodbyes.

"The sad part is we had to tell family and my father’s close friends that they couldn’t come to the funeral. This was heartbreaking because he was well-respected."

Listen to the audio below for more.

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