After 85 years on the planet, it was a single bite from a tiny insect that proved the end of Ikgopoleng Koloi.
The grandmother died from malaria last Thursday, shortly after being bitten by a mosquito.
The Moshupa stalwart’s death makes her one of thousands of people killed by the disease every year – a disease that has claimed millions of lives since the start of the century, but until last week, no one from Moshupa.
For 38-year-old Kelebogile Koloi, it is a stat that she never dreamed would one day include her mother.
Talking to The Voice recently, Kelebogile revealed that, as well as her elderly mum, her two children – a six-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son – were also diagnosed with malaria.
“I am surprised I tested negative for the disease, yet I stayed in the same house with my family,” she said.
Casting her mind back to a week ago and the start of the ordeal that would change her life forever, Kelebogile explained that her son started complaining of stomach pains and diarrhoea.
“We took him to the village Primary Hospital; they ran medical tests and did not find anything. After a while the doctors suspected that my son’s glucose was high and gave him intravenous fluids,” she said, adding they returned home in the hope that he would be better in the morning.
However, the following day Kelebogile was back in hospital, this time with her mother, who had struggled to get out of bed due to ‘terrible body pains’.
“She was weak and was transferred to Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Kanye, where she was diagnosed with malaria.”
Frail and frightened, Ikgopoleng was immediately put on treatment but failed to recover, her condition not helped by her sugar diabetes.
Fortunately for Kelebogile, her two children have responded well to medication and are currently recuperating at home.
Nevertheless, the cloud of death still hangs heavy over the Koloi family home.
“I live in fear; I do not know whether the malaria will still spread to the whole family. Whenever I have an insect sting, I wonder if it’s the Malaria mosquito,” grieved Kelabogile, who asked The Voice not to take her picture.
The family’s aunt, 57-year-old Keodiretse Nkae, said the news came as a complete shock.
“We had no information about malaria, it’s the first time to ever experience the horrible disease in our family,” she explained with a sad, puzzled look.
Although allegations are that four more cases of malaria have been recorded in Thamaga village, the Moshupa District Health Management Team (DHMT) Head, Malebogo Rauwe said they have only registered the three incidents in Moshupa.
“Since the three cases were recorded, no other case was recorded. We have run more than 150 tests, but all were tested negative,” he said.
Rauwe added that investigations have not yet revealed where the malaria originated from, but he suspects someone came to the area sick and was bitten by the mosquito leaving the illness there.