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, 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

In Public, the World Health Organization Praised China’s Early COVID Response. In Private, They Had Concerns.
The Associated Press obtained leaked recordings of WHO internal meetings and shared them with FRONTLINE and the BBC; they are heard in the new documentary “China’s COVID Secrets.”
January 26, 2021
“We Take Our Democracy for Granted,” Says Bob Corker, Former GOP Senator and Trump Critic
Bob Corker, former chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a sharp rebuke of President Trump and a strong warning to the American public in an interview with FRONTLINE.
January 26, 2021
‘Enabling It to Happen Again’: How Charlottesville Led to the Capitol Attack
A scene from the FRONTLINE documentary 'Trump’s American Carnage' shows how the 2017 Unite the Right rally and President Trump’s response foreshadowed Jan. 6, 2021.
January 26, 2021
'It's a Very Tough Job': In Rural Wisconsin, a Struggle to Save Family Farms and a Way of Life
Spend a few hours listening to people who live in Clark County, Wisconsin, and you hear a lot about what’s ailing small farms. But you also hear about the community ties and independence that keep them in farming.
January 25, 2021