What’s Happened To Bheki, Nokubheka and Gcebile?

Share:

March 25, 2014

When FRONTLINE’s cameras left Swaziland last summer, the characters featured in TB Silent Killer were all at different stages in their treatment. Young Nokubheka had improved enough to leave the national TB hospital there, while her friend Gcebile had discharged herself after being diagnosed with an even more deadly form of the disease. Bheki, meanwhile, was grieving the death of his sister and fearing he might be next. Roughly seven months later, how are they doing?

Nokubheka was able to see her brother, Melusi, after leaving the hospital, but now lives too far away for regular visits. After a brief stay with a foster family, she has moved in with extended family in the eastern part of the country. The family relies on subsistence farming for food, and with a drought underway there is the risk that poor nutrition could weaken her immune system and put her in danger of a relapse.

Bheki is at home with his mother, and has about a year to go with his TB treatment. He still dislikes his medication — the associated joint pain makes it tough for him to work — but is following doctor’s orders nonetheless. Bheki isn’t back playing soccer yet, but he still goes to games as often as he can.

After her diagnosis for extensively drug-resistant TB, Gcebile decided to discharge herself from the hospital. “I’ve left everything in God’s hands,” she said. Her condition soon deteriorated, and by January, roughly four months after FRONTLINE stopped filming, she had been readmitted. Doctors had to stop giving her injections because they were causing her to lose too much weight.

For those with questions about how to help the people featured in TB Silent Killer, filmmaker Jezza Neumann’s company, True Vision, has established an independent charity, the Aletheia Foundation, to collect donations for people featured in its films. Additional details are available here.


Jason M. Breslow

Jason M. Breslow, Former Digital Editor

Twitter:

@jbrezlow

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

Mass Shootings, a Supreme Court Ruling, Bipartisan Legislation: How America Reached This Moment on Guns
FRONTLINE has been chronicling America’s dialogue on guns for years. Get the backstory on the recent news in these documentaries.
June 29, 2022
The Supreme Court Has Overturned 'Roe v. Wade.' These Documentaries Show How We Got Here.
Overriding nearly five decades of legal precedent, the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in the U.S. These documentaries offer context on how America reached this moment.
June 24, 2022
Why the Black Educator Forced Out Over Bogus Critical Race Theory Claims Wanted to Share Her Story
ProPublica reporter Nicole Carr explains why educator Cecelia Lewis was hesitant to speak to reporters about white parents forcing her out of her job and why she ultimately decided she had to.
June 18, 2022
White Parents Rallied to Chase a Black Educator Out of Town. Then, They Followed Her to the Next One.
Cecelia Lewis was asked to apply for a Georgia school district’s first-ever administrator job devoted to diversity, equity and inclusion. A group of parents — coached by local and national anti-CRT groups — had other plans.
June 16, 2022