Thu, 28 May 2020

A KwaZulu-Natal family are now in isolation after their patriarch, Moulana Yusuf Tootla, 80, died of Covid-19 on Tuesday.

Tootla was part of a religious gathering in Delhi, India, which had been identified as a coronavirus hotspot.

Tootla's daughter, Saeeda, who was in contact with her father after his return to SA, spoke to News24 during her self-isolation.

She confirmed he had been diagnosed with Covid-19 by a private lab.

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"Since he travelled and showed symptoms, as a precaution we took him to Lancet for testing. The results were confirmed by the lab."

She said he had returned from a trip to India and had been unwell for a few days.

"He had fully recovered at home by this past weekend. On Monday evening, he felt a bit distressed... He then peacefully returned to his maker."

The will of God

Tootla said the family had accepted his death as "the will of God".

"He's in a better place than us. We are grateful that he lived a full life of 80 years and that we were near him to witness how beautifully and peacefully he returned to his creator."

Speaking on missing his funeral due to isolation, she said they were trying to remain strong as a family.

"By the grace of God, we are a big family and have the support of each other. We have no fear and we firmly believe that nothing can afflict you if God has not destined it for you."

Tootla said that, so far, they were not showing any signs of Covid-19.

"We are all keeping well and showing no symptoms."

Burial process

Goolam Dhoodat, of the KwaDukuza Muslim Burial Service, helped to coordinate the funeral arrangements for the moulana. He said the burial process was significantly different due to Covid-19 and with Tootla having been infected.

"First, we went to the house to verify that he actually passed away and to see if they have documents such as his ID."

He said the body was transported to Durban, where a dedicated nurse supervised the general procedures for the body.

"When they were done, the body was brought back. He was buried at 05:15 in the morning. The body did not go back to the house. As per health regulations, three body bags were used. The whole family could not come to the funeral. Only 30 attended."

National regulations only allow for 50 to gather at a funeral. He said the grave was also sprayed after the burying process.

The moulana leaves behind his wife, 10 children, 24 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

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