Portrait of Simphiwe in front of a community mural at his local clinic in Kuyasa, Khayelitsha.
Simphiwe Zwide, 43 years, lives in a one-bedroom house with his wife, Nomonde Tyala, and children in Kuyasa, Khayelitsha. Simphiwe was first diagnosed with MDR-TB in 2011. He completed six months of treatment, but when he learned that he had pre-XDR-TB and would need even more treatment, he lost heart and returned to work.
In June 2016, he presented back to his Khayelistha clinic as he had fallen ill again. This time test results showed he had XDR-TB. He took his first delamanid tablets on 12 October, as part of a strengthened regimen for XDR-TB.
Simphiwe’s current regimen: Delamanid, bedaquiline, linezolid, levofloxacin, terizidone, clofazimine, ethionamide
“In 2011, my wife had TB and they admitted her into Jooste District Hospital. I visited her for over a week. When she came out of hospital, I fell sick.
I couldn’t eat, my body was painful, my throat was sore – I thought I had a virus. My wife tried to cook – sour milk and maize meal. I couldn’t swallow. I had to drink many cups of water. I was sweating – I couldn’t walk even couple of metres.
My wife was very supportive of me. She would leave me taxi money and go and stand in the hospital queue for me from 5am.
I started to feel my health returning and I felt like I could work again. I’m the breadwinner, and we were all suffering. I was the only one who could work for my family. I was taking clofazamine injections which meant that I had to attend the clinic every day and this was preventing me from finding a job.
I was between Johannesburg and Cape Town looking for work between 2012 to the end of 2016. Then in January 2016, I started to get sick again. I couldn’t work like I’m used to. I came back to Khayelitsha, now I’m here at Kuyasa clinic getting treated for XDR-TB. I’m joining a support group soon.
I’m a jack of all trades - I learned to be a cleaner, I was piping donuts down at Monte Vista. I do construction, I bake cakes. My big brother taught me how to bake and my cousin is a confectioner.
I’ve been on treatment (including linezolid and bedaquiline ) for two months now. Sometimes I take 26 pills a day.
When I take them, I have to sleep the whole day. But I’m feeling much better, I can’t say I’m 100% but this is only my third month. I know who I am, I’m strong and I want my health back.”