At the peak of the coronavirus in South Africa, 57-year-old nursing Sister Thathakahle Gumede lifts the spirits of the depressed and sick. They call her the singing nurse. She is loved by her patients and is making waves on social media.

SABC Journalist Mlondi Radebe and camerawoman Nomhle Ngubane spent a day with Gumede at Philani Clinic in Scottburgh outside Durban.

Gumede is the Operations Manager at the Philani Clinic in KwaCele, near Scottburgh, KwaZulu -Natal south coast. She is popular on social media and to her patients. She sings to her patients, cracks jokes, and even brings them food.

Gumede also grows vegetables at the clinic for poor patients. “By making them laugh, I make them forget just for a minute their problems.  I am treating them psychologically and emotionally.  When they come to me they talk to me about their problems,  that is emotional,  then physically they get their pills from nurses,” she explains.

Gumede, who has been a nurse for 33 years, is passionate about her work.  “The wellbeing, the health of my patients will be my first respective over anything, will be my first consideration then let’s make that work. We must respect our profession first, we are complaining today that nurses are not respected,  it’s because perhaps we need to respect our profession more and the only way of respecting our profession more is to do our work diligently and religiously.”

The patients adore her. “I love her jokes and the way she treats us in this clinic,” says patient Nyenyezile Mzulwini.

Gumede is soon to retire and has only one wish that younger nurses should take care of the profession. -Reporting by Mondli Radebe