South Africa is currently facing a second wave of COVID-19 infections and is experiencing a surge in cases even greater than the first wave. To date, South Africa has reported 1.4 million positive cases and more than 40,000 deaths.
The country's second wave has been fueled by the new COVID-19 strain that was identified in the country in late 2020, known as 501.V2. The new strain forced the South African government to reinstate lockdown level 3 and enforce new lockdown restrictions, due to the added pressure it had on the South African health care systems.
By August 2020, more than 27,300 health care workers from both private and public health care institutions have been infected with COVID-19. Meanwhile, the increasing number of positive cases left frontline workers stretched out and overworked.
Among the country's dedicated health care workers, giving their all to help keep the rest of us safe and healthy, are a few famous faces who are also using their platforms to raise awareness about the pandemic.
They're also using their social media channels to educate people by regularly posting videos about the virus, going on live broadcasts to discuss the virus, and answering their followers' questions about COVID-19.
Here just a few of South Africa's celebrities who have been working tirelessly on the pandemic's front lines to help curb the spread of the virus and save lives.
1. Dr. Tumi ( Tumisang Makweya)
Tumisang Makweya — better known as Dr. Tumi — is an award-winning gospel musician and a medical doctor who co-owns a 24-hour private medical practice in his hometown of Polokwane.
During his final year of studying he started a record label with his friends and, after signing a gospel group to the label, he joined the group until he graduated — with a degree from the Medical University of Southern Africa (Medunsa). He then recorded his first solo album while practicing medicine until he found success in music.
In March 2020, however, when South Africa went into its first lockdown, Dr. Tumi offered his services to a public hospital in Tembisa. He had previously left the public health care sector in 2011 to pursue music, but returned after seeing the toll the pandemic was having on health care workers in the country.
2. Dr. Thato Thelma Mosehle
Dr. Thato Mosehle is a Miss South Africa beauty pageant runner up from Stilfontein, North West.
She obtained her medical degree from the University of the Free State in 2018, before doing an internship at Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp. On May 17, 2020, she uploaded her entry video for Miss South Africa 2020.
Fast-forward to today, and she holds the title of Miss South Africa 2020 first runner-up — and hence was crowned Miss Supranational South Africa 2020. Mosehle will represent South Africa at the Miss Supranational pageant later this year.
Throughout preparing for the pageant, Mosehle was working as a medical doctor, and only took leave towards the finale of the pageant — before returning to work again after she was crowned.
In a video posted on the Miss South Africa Instagram page, Mosehle says that what keeps her going as a worker on the front lines against the pandemic is the success stories of patients that are discharged and can return home healthy.
3. Dr. Musa Mthombeni
Former YO-TV presenter and radio presenter Musa Mthombeni is also a medical doctor and associate lecturer at the Wits medical school. He started presenting at a young age and has been in the public eye ever since.
But he always dreamed of being a doctor, and after he matriculated he went on to study medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand — while still working as a presenter on the popular kids television programme YO-TV.
Mthombeni is a radiologist and currently works at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital. He has also worked with the South African Department of Health to help give advice on how people can stay safe during these trying times and help limit the spread of COVID-19.
4. Dr. Tamaryn Green
Dr. Tamaryn Green was crowned Miss South Africa in 2018 and finished in second place at the Miss Universe 2018 pageant held in Thailand.
In 2019, Green went back to school to finish her studies after putting them on pause during her reign as Miss South Africa. Later that year, she graduated with a medical degree from the University of Cape Town. During her reign she advocated for breaking the stigma of tuberculosis (TB), and started her #BreakTheStigma campaign to help educate people about TB.
During the pandemic she has been working as a frontline worker in Johannesburg, and is raising awareness about COVID-19 on her social media pages.
She was also among a group of doctors who teamed up for a social media campaign calling on South Africans to follow health regulations to combat COVID-19, and raise support for the Solidarity Fund RSA — as well as working with many brands to raise awareness and help educate people about COVID-19 and how to stay safe during the pandemic.
5. Dr. Adè van Heerden
Dr. Adè van Heerden is a doctor, South African National Defence Force (SANDF) lieutenant, and former Miss South Africa, who went on to finish among the top 10 in the Miss World 2017 pageant. After her reign as Miss South Africa, van Heerden went back to 2 Military Hospital in Wynberg, Cape Town, to conclude her internship.
She currently works as a medical doctor under the SANDF in Gauteng and also works as a TV presenter for Health Matters on ENCA. She has used her social media platforms and her TV show to raise awareness on COVID-19 and the national regulations that must be adhered to to combat the virus.