Influencer Naledi Radebe speaks out about her COVID-19 status

‘It was an Uber ride and a hug – that’s how I got it’.

naledi radebe, covid-19, coronavirus, celeb, influencer

Mzansi is officially in lockdown to try and curb the spread of the coronavirus. And while you may have heard of a friend of a friend who might have it, there isn’t that much first-hand experience out there from locals who have contracted COVID-19, last week influencer Naledi Radebe – who is currently under quarantine at her home after testing positive for the virus – took to Instagram to share a video with her fans.

Naledi Radebe got COVID-19 from sharing an Uber with a friend

Fashion and lifestyle influencer Naledi Radebe revealed her positive COVID-19 status on Instagram yesterday. She posted a video detailing how she must have contracted it and explained the process of obtaining her results. A few weeks ago she had gone to the UK to visit her cousin and started experiencing a tight chest a few days into her trip. She called the NHS, the UK’s national healthcare provider, but they were inundated with calls. After speaking to her mom and friends in the medical industry, she made the call to come home on what was, fortunately, an empty flight.

After arriving back in SA, she went straight to the doctor who referred her to Lancet Laboratories to be tested for COVID-19. During this time, she was contacted by a friend who had shared an Uber with someone who had since tested positive for the virus… and then hugged Naledi. ‘That’s how it moves, just like regular flu,’ she explains in her video. ‘If you are standing near somebody or they cough on you or they sneezed and gave you a hug. It was an Uber ride and a hug – that’s how I got it.’

Eight days after taking the test, Naledi was told that she was positive for COVID-19. Luckily she had been quarantining herself the entire time. But how exactly is she feeling?

‘For me, it felt like my lungs were clamped at the bottom so I couldn’t draw full breaths, but my asthma pump has been helping,’ she says. ‘I also experience some dizziness at night and I had body aches for about two days, but I haven’t gotten a fever, I’ve been checking my temperature every day, I haven’t coughed once. And that’s the scariest thing; you think you know what to expect from the flu, but this mutation is sly. You almost can’t tell that you have it, you just think that you are feeling low-key not-so-great.’

In her first COVID-19 post, she breaks down the events leading up to her diagnosis…

… and she posted a second one to address some of the negativity she’d received since revealing her diagnosis.

‘I decided to go public with the news because there was a lot of misinformation, memes, jokes and confusion doing the rounds,’ she says.  ‘I wanted people to find a source of information based on experience rather than random fact. I hoped people would take the situation seriously, recognising that we are officially dealing with a pandemic; that it is no longer far removed but at our doorstep.  I wanted to provide comfort to those that may not know what to expect or may be suffering from symptoms and needed solutions. I also wanted to remove the stigma around testing positive and show people that anyone can contract the virus. Importantly, I wanted others to avoid some of the hard lessons I was forced to learn and take preventative measures seriously while they have a chance. I believe that, in taking care of ourselves and adhering to preventative measures and personal hygiene, we are acting in the best interest of society and exhibiting Ubuntu for those around us that may be vulnerable.’


View this post on Instagram


This post is to address some of the negativity/cyber-bullying I’ve been receiving(in the minority). I can see how my story can be construed and polarize opinions in these highly stressful times so give me the opportunity to put you in my shoes. This video is a breakdown/ timeline of how things played out for clarity. I initially decided to speak on my status because I thought it may provide those around me with some comfort/new info. I had no idea that the video would go viral, one certainly does not want to be known for having contracted a virus- imagine. The info I have now, through having had the time to research in quarantine and my experience over +/- 2 weeks, has grown exponentially from when I first felt a symptom and it’s possible I would have altered some decisions. I can say that I truly tried my utmost best to constantly engaged with those that knew better then me, also using my own instinct and logic to react to what is really, a novel virus. Recognize that I was in contact with covid-19 in SA first before anything, and I appreciate that it was not purposeful and that it moves as the flu. Also remember that there were international sentiments that people should fly home because borders were shutting, so I also acted as many did with that info in mind, AND with the most CAUTION I could practice. I’m not a doctor or in medical specialism, I’m merely a human being trying to recover from this virus and, along the way, help those that may not know what I now do. Despite feeling discouraged, I will attempt to continue the culture of sharing and understanding, within limits. I won’t be addressing any more insults and I don’t want to turn my comments off in case someone wants to share , so please reserve the negativity to the walls of your own quarantine space. We’re scared – I totally get it. And rightly so. I appear asymptomatic- that is MY story and I know I’m lucky. There are people that are suffering significantly from this, dying from this. I hope that my posts have not diminished the seriousness of the situation in my attempt to provide hope. Let’s do everything we can to keep safe and care for each other🙏🏾

A post shared by Naledi Radebe (@leddi_g) on

Four reasons why Naledi is imploring people to stay at home

And just in case you are sulking about not being able to leave your house for the next few weeks, here are four reasons why Naledi is imploring people to stay at home as far as possible during lockdown:

  1. ‘It’s for our own protection and to make sure we don’t contract the virus. Essentially it is an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. This is important because the virus essentially spreads with the ease of flu, through droplets that are generated when one is infected and that can transfer through sneezes and coughs. These droplets can remain on surfaces for hours at a time. Human beings are constantly touching surfaces and then touching our faces and others, unwittingly transferring germs.
  2. The healthcare system cannot handle the strain of everyone becoming ill all at once. It is an attempt to reduce the pressure on hospitals, healthcare workers and medical resources. It also allows for time and energy spent finding a cure or remedies rather than dealing with an influx of patients and having to test theories IRL.
  3. We don’t know how severe the effects on our country will be should things escalate. It may mean an extension on the length of the lockdown and that affects the economy and households, countless people with freelancing jobs or those that are not on salary-based contra may not be able to survive this. Essentially we cannot AFFORD to not take the lockdown seriously.
  4. We are a country in which a large portion of the population can be considered high-risk. The complications that could develop from contracting a respiratory virus could be fatal for many so it is our civic duty to ensure that we protect those that are vulnerable. We should also take in to account that we are nearing the winter season, a time when immune systems drop and flu thrives.’

When we know better we do better. Here’s wishing Naledi a speedy recovery!

Read more health and fitness.