Rietfontein

We are honoured to publish this powerful piece of research dealing with many aspects of the outbreak of plague in Johannesburg in 1904. The piece was compiled by Tim Capon, the great grand-nephew of Emily Blake, the only nurse to die during the epidemic.

[Originally published in 2014] Emily Blake was an experienced, caring nurse. One evening, while tending to a sick child, he began crying for his mother, so she kissed him gently and tucked him into his bed. Soon after that, Nurse Emily contracted Bubonic Plague.  She died at the tender age of 27 years. Her grave is one of about 7000 graves of people of all creeds who were buried in the grounds of the the Rietfontein Hospital between 1895 and 1957. This hospital, known as Sizwe since 1995, still operates today.

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