Son dies as family test positive for Covid-19

Mervyn Oliver, 31, from Rocklands, died of Covid-19.

Tributes have been pouring in on social media for a Rocklands man who died after he and his parents tested positive for Covid-19.

Mervyn Oliver, 31, who was born with Down Syndrome, died at home on Wednesday December 9.

His sister Ilze Olifant said: “Mervyn was the only one who had it the worst, he never ever complained (about being ill), but this time round, he complained about a sore throat.”

His dad Jerome Oliver was tested for Covid-19 on Monday November 30 and got his positive results two days later.

Mervyn and his mother Wilma were tested on Thursday December 3 and received their positive results on Monday December 7.

The next day at 4.45pm they called for an ambulance because he was struggling to breathe.

Ms Olifant, 35, who lives with her husband Glemis, in the United Kingdom, will not be able to attend the funeral at the weekend because they have comorbidities and face international travel restrictions.

She said when Mervyn was ill, her parents had been told that there was no ambulance available.

“They were struggling for hours to get hold of one,” she said.

They video-called him every day since they moved overseas, so when he got sick now, they could see it was different.

“The days before he passed, he didn’t want to eat (and) my brother loved eating, especially KFC,” she said.

Ms Olifant said her brother was always happy but the day before he died he complained of a sore throat and refused to eat.

“He almost never fell ill and that’s why we’re so sad that he passed due to Covid-19. He loved everyone, regardless. He lived his best life,” she said.

In 1995, when Mervyn was 6, he started at Beacon School for LSEN (Learners with Special Education Needs), in Westridge and attended until he was 18.

He then moved to Training Workshop Unlimited, a job creation and job coaching project of Cape Mental Health, situated in Promenade Drive behind Liberty Promenade shopping centre, until 2018.

Mervyn was a great wrestling fan and his 21st birthday celebration was themed accordingly. When he turned 30, the theme was “Manchester United”.

The Oliver family first lived in Morgenster before moving to Rocklands in 2015.

A year later Ms Olifant moved to the UK, and in 2017 and 2018, Mervyn and his mom visited Ms Olifant there, also spending a week in Turkey during the first trip.

“We always joked about the fact that it would only be him who goes on holiday, while on holiday.That’s just how extra he was,” said Ms Olifant.

She said he was loved by everyone and that his family meant the world to him. He was a champ at dominoes and almost never lost a game, she added.

“Mervyn couldn’t read, write or tell time but that didn’t stop him from knowing and doing certain things,” she said.

One of his teachers, Shavonne Esme Samaai, wrote on Facebook that she was sad and heartbroken by the news of his death.

“He was a soul who always brightened up my days with his smile and asking all at work if they were okay, including the manager,” she said.