Inside Cape Town’s Tygerberg Hospital, there’s a robot affectionately named Quintin who is playing ‘his’ part in the fight against Covid-19.
Bellville’s Nceba Simayile, 50, serves as a pastor at the Kalkfontein and Kayamandi Baptist churches. Before becoming a church leader, he worked in banking. Simayile says he had never been in a hospital until 10 August, when he tested positive for Covid-19.
After being admitted to Tygerberg Hospital, he spent a marathon 46 days in the intensive care unit.
On 3 September, Simayile’s condition took a turn for the worse, leaving doctors no choice but to put him on a ventilator. The following day, ICU staff notified Simayile’s wife, Vuyelwa, that the end was near. They said she and the couple’s five children could say goodbye to him via a virtual meeting, with the help of Quintin the robot.
At the time of the virtual meeting, Simayile was heavily sedated.
“I remember feeling very confused,” Simayile tells Spotlight.
“I remember seeing Quintin; seeing my wife and my family at home, praying for me to live. People from the church were there in the house, praying for me. I was confused about why they were praying.
“I didn’t realise my…