Covid-19 claims father of former OFM News journo

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Journalist Mark Steenbok and his late father, Cecil Steenbok

Former OFM News journalist, Mark Steenbok, has lost his father, Cecil Steenbok, to Covid-19. Mark told Bloemfontein Courant that his father’s passing came as a huge shock and that “this pandemic is no joke”.

Mark, who currently works for etv News in Cape Town, said his dad, who was a respected member of the Heidedal community in Bloemfontein, started complaining about flu-like symptoms and a sore throat and had to be admitted to hospital the next day.

“He was in hospital for about 11 days and received oxygen from a ventilator. Unfortunately, they alerted us on Saturday morning that his blood sugar levels were dropping. About an hour later they notified us about his passing. He passed on in Mediclinic Bloemfontein on Saturday morning at 10:10.”

Mark added that due to the strict Covid-19 regulations both him and his mother only got to see his father once during the time he was hospitalised. His father was under sedation in an isolated space, so they were not able to speak to him.

“The last time I physically saw my dad was in February, as I now work in Cape Town and because of the restrictions of travelling between provinces,” he said.

Of all the family members who have seen his father, his brother, Leander Schrader and wife Leigh-Vonia Busby-Schrader, were unfortunately not able to see him due to them having tested positive. His elder brother and sister, who reside in Upington, were also not able to say goodbye.

“My dad was a leader, my role model, a friend and an all round legend. So his death definitely came as a huge shock for the family and myself. He was a silent warrior but when he spoke you made sure you listened attentively.

“He always cared for the next person and his community and he had a very infectious laugh. He served his country and the police for almost two decades, and certainly touched a lot of people he came into contact with,” Steenbok said.

Cecil Steenbok leaves behind his wife, Susan Steenbok, his four children, Clynton Steenbok, Fatima van Zyl, Leander Schrader and Mark Steenbok, 5 grandchildren as well as 3 sisters and a brother.

“One day you find yourself talking to your dad over the phone, and the next day he is under sedation and on a ventilator. So anybody who might still think the Coronavirus is a joke, should start taking it seriously,” Mark expressed.

The funeral arrangements have not been finalised yet.

Heidre Malgas

heidre@mahareng.co.za