This is a guest article by Portia Lesch from Cape Town / South Africa. She was our class teacher during our educational leave, so to speak. Besides vocabulary, gramatic and useful word phrases, we also learned a lot about South Africa. Here she writes her very personal view of the lockdown in Cape Town. Thanks a lot Portia. Everything will be fine.
It’s day 13 of #SALockdown in Cape Town. I woke up this morning feeling confused about which day of the week it was. I then reached out to check the day and date on my phone and the first thing I saw was a meme that reads “Until further notice the days of the week are now called, thisday, thatday, otherday, someday, yesterday, today and next day ? .
For the past 13 days my emotions have roller-coasted from feeling positive and motivated (day2 – that day) to feeling OK ish (someday) to eventually plummeting to a state of depression, feeling overwhelmed and too exhausted to interact with anybody, let alone anything that moves. This morning while meditating I wasreminded of words of comfort often spoken by my late father (in tough times) “there is good in every bad … and bad in every good”, even though I sincerely believe that this true, my struggle, in the midst of this pandemic … is maintaining a positive attitude.
Since the day our President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a national lockdown for 21 days, many South Africans have applauded him for showing strong leadership. Most of us have supported him by abiding to the new laws regarding social distancing, self – isolation, washing hands regularly etc. Despite this, there are a few contentious issues that have consequently sparked endless debates on social media. So how does this lockdown affect our lives?
Day 13 – Lockdown – Covid-19
Statistics from SA
as at 08 April 2020:
1749 – tested positive
Death toll – 13
Lockdown in Cape Town
The restrictions listed below are only a few:
- no dog walking
- no jogging or going for walks
- no gym or yoga etc.
- no weddings or gathering of more than 50 people
- nobody is allowed to attend church, mosque or synagogue
- shopping is allowed ONLY for essential items such as food, medication and fuel
- the sale of alcohol and cigarettes are prohibited
- children are not allowed to play in the street
- only suppliers of essential services such as supermarkets, healthcare services, fuel stations are permitted to operate
- all restaurants, bars, clubs, schools and universities are closed
The bad in every good
The ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes
Governments’ decision to prohibit the sale of alcohol and cigarettes in both formal and informal sectors have inevitably caused havoc, especially in the informal sector. Unfortunately, there has been a surge in crime related to domestic violence, and burglary of liquor stores. Governments good intentions, to focus on health and safety, has had an adverse effect on a frustrated broader community who were not ready for “forced rehabilitation”.
The homeless and inadequate shelter
South Africans were assured by government that the homeless would be taken care of during the lockdown period, however, the “housing” provided by the state are camping tents which have been pitched up on the outskirts of the city. Its been reported that as many as 5 people need to share a tent, this obviously negates the whole aspect of social distancing.
This morning, members of this community protested and literally ran from that location. The police who were deployed to protect them retaliated by shooting them with rubber bullets. This is heart-breaking. The minister of police seems to think that he is doing a fantastic job in terms of combatting crime and restricting movement, but he refuses to address the issues of an increase in burglary, domestic violence and police brutality.
Unemployment and job losses
Since most industries have been forced to close down, it is estimated that job losses would be between 600000 to 1.2 million by the postlockdown period. Prior to the lockdown SA’s unemployment rate was at 27%.
The good in every bad
The spirit of ubuntu
The spirit of ubuntu is inherent in most South Africans, it basically means that if your neighbour is in need …you are obliged to assist or help. To be a witness to this in a time of crises has been encouraging and heart-warming. Yoga teachers, art teachers, spiritual leaders, chefs, musicians etc are not only offering free online services, concerts or cooking lessons but also raising funds for those in need.
For some reason there has been no electricity shortage, I am truly grateful.
Provision of food parcels
Non-profit organisations, churches and members of the community have rallied together to providedaily food parcels for those in need.
Virtual parties and barbeque’s (braai’s)
Social distancing has resulted in the sudden emergence of virtual parties via zoom or skype! Yes, we’re having virtual breakfast meetings, lunch and barbeque’s – because nowadays the only way to show loved ones that they are valued and loved is to stay away from them! That’s the kind of love I’ve always dreamed of.
Personally, I guess the only way for me to maintain a positive attitude is to focus on the good that has emerged from this global pandemic. I am still in shock, just a few months ago I was celebrating the beginning of 2020 thinking “this is my year”… now I am unemployed. What I’ve realised in the past few weeks is that nothing in life is permanent. The only constant thing in life is CHANGE as Eckardt Toller says “Whatever the present moment contains … accept it as if you had chosen it”.