702’s Soulful Sundays, former Cape Talk host Nonn Botha opens up about heartbreak of losing her baby

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Radio presenter Nonn Botha says she has the support of her colleagues to thank for helping her cope with her devastating loss.
Radio presenter Nonn Botha says she has the support of her colleagues to thank for helping her cope with her devastating loss.
Twitter/@NonnBotha

Many know her from the jazzy and soulful radio shows she presents on radio. But beneath her bubbly personality lies unimaginable pain.

The charismatic radio personality and DJ is a proud mom of four, but one of them she refers to as her angel – not because of any cherubic appearance the kid has but because the child, a baby boy, died at just four months old.

Her angel died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and over the years, she says, Nonn has found it difficult to work on the day of birth and his death. “I think some of us have amazing support systems in the sisterhood that we have," she says.

"Sometimes in workspaces too because I know in radio and broadcasting I’ve had sisters that sometimes when I just wanted to cry there is that sister who is on the other side always calm me down, comfort me and share their journey with me.”

Read more | What doctors want you to know about sudden infancy death syndrome

Ahead of Mother's Day this Sunday, Nonn Botha opened up about her tragic loss at an event hosted by by E!tv for "yummy mummies" in showbiz that was held at the Fireroom restaurant at the Mall of Africa earlier this week.

“I left the house at 5am for work. I was still at Kaya at the time. I had gone back to work because I missed the radio, my baby was always sleeping so I called Claire Mawisa and asked if I can come back. I was at work and I got a call from my partner who told me that I must come home because the baby stopped breathing," she says, recalling the events of that tragic day.

"He was not sick and when they did the autopsy they said it's aspiration and later on we did research and we learned about SIDS."

She says Keoagile was born a healthy baby and he was with a nanny who adored him and took really good care of him. "I still to this day shudder at the thought of how she must’ve felt, the guilt that she must’ve felt because there was a baby left in her care and now she has to call the parents and tell them that the baby stopped breathing."

After the nanny relayed the news to her partner and he called Nonn to come home, she was frantic when she drove home.

“I drove home and had to fetch my older daughter, who later told me that she ran away from me because I kept on saying, 'No! No!' I could see the shock and the fear in the security officer and, when I got home, my mother-in-law was there as well.

"When I arrived, the baby was very cold and I could see my pain in people’s eyes. Sometimes we think we are God as parents and I thought if I get home and hold him, he is going to sense that mommy is here and he is going to wake up. But he didn’t, then we called the paramedics.

It's been nine years since that awful day but Nonn says even talking about it now is hard.

Read more | Mbali Ntuli plans to hit ground running after maternity leave – ‘I will start in my backyard of KZN’

With each passing birthday, she wonders how her baby would’ve been had he had the chance to live. She says the worst date is the date of his birth. She wishes the date could be scrapped from the calendar because it brings so much sorrow.

“I want to hold on to the birth date and not the death date, and it took a while for me to even go to work. Only last year I had the strength to work because all the other years I wouldn’t show up for work on the 10th of June, the death date.

"And fortunately, at Kaya and even on 702, they knew, and that would be my day off. But my kids gave me strength last year to work and show up. That is why I embrace the beauty of support I have in friends, family, and the workplace because I had so many sisters on radio."  

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