Waking up to the harsh reality that Day 21 is not the end of the lockdown after all

Waking up to the harsh reality that Day 21 is not the end of the lockdown after all
(Photo: Unsplash/Sasha Freemind)

South Africa went into a 21-day lockdown on Friday, 27 March, in a countrywide bid to block the spread of Covid-19. Today, the lockdown would have been lifted had President Cyril Ramaphosa not extended it by another two weeks. These reflections form part of a series by Young Maverick writers who are monitoring the stay-at-home regulations in various neighbourhoods.

Read Day 14 reflections of the lockdown here, Day 7 here, Day 1 here, The day before the lockdown here

Others have it a lot worse

(Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

West Rand, Gauteng: I have no idea how this went from being the final reflection on lockdown to being the third-last reflection – and that’s only if there aren’t more extensions. It still takes me by surprise when I think that we have another two weeks to go. And that’s only if all goes well. 

A lot of people, including my neighbours, are confused and frustrated. In our neighbourhood WhatsApp group, some of the messages read: 

“Hi Everyone. Just to confirm, are we allowed to jog during lockdown?”

“Missing our walk around the block very early morning *sad face*.”

It’s easy to understand peoples’ attitudes. It’s quite a shock to wake up on Day 21 and realise the lockdown only ends on Day 35.

And it’s not good trying to forget – social media is always there to remind you of this harsh reality.

On other WhatsApp groups, I am getting messages like “Can you believe this isn’t over yet, like WTF?” and “Happy ‘end of original lockdown’ day everybody!”

On Twitter, it’s much worse. Each day I open Twitter to find that there is a hashtag trending for every lockdown day that passes. The hashtags give a good indication whether people are finding the situation super hilarious or if they are really struggling with it.

Today, the memes being circulated by people who really wanted today to be the last day should be entertaining, but only because the reality is so awful. 

I haven’t got started on the endless amount of TikTok viral videos that have come out of the lockdown. Is it too much to ask that we stop with the #SavageChallenge or the #RenegadeChallenge or worse, the #FlipTheSwitchChallenge. Maybe I am just being a ‘hater’. If you’re asking what these challenges are, I suggest you download TikTok and see for yourself. If I had to try and describe them, you’d probably think I was going insane. 

It’s also unfortunate that people have taken to posting their TikTok videos on Instagram, where you can find even more people who are sad or angry that the lockdown is continuing. 

With Instagram, though, the scope is a lot wider, especially if you click on a trending hashtag like #Lockdown or #Covid19. Then you’ll get to see the plight of people all around the world.

This can be depressing but, for some reason, it makes me feel a little better about our situation. Even though I am obsessed with Instagram, it serves as a reminder that others out there have it a lot worse than me. By Chanel Retief.

A battle to buckle down and soldier on

Illustrative Image:  by ConvertKit on Unsplash

Johannesburg South, Gauteng: The previous week consisted of my younger brother, 20, finding every reason under the sun to go out.

He has been volunteering to go and buy bread (a chore that usually has him sulking), while constantly asking if we want snacks from the local Spar. Any excuse to leave the house.

He is a social person and on a normal day, he spends little time at home. He is always out and about, whether it’s visiting friends or going out over the weekend.

His restlessness has led to our mother reading him the riot act, reminding him that his behaviour is “putting our lives in danger”. 

Mother has repeatedly told him that instead of worrying about seeing his friends, he should be concentrating on staying up to date with his class work, so that when things do return to normal, he can hit the ground running. 

My brother is doing his first year in tertiary, which on its own (even pre-lockdown) requires a great deal of discipline. Under the current circumstances, it must be even more difficult to buckle down and soldier on. 

He is also lucky enough to have the tools needed to continue with his learning. For many many others in his position, it is even more difficult because they have no access to computers or even wifi.

Granted, most network operators in the country have zero-rated education websites. But not everyone owns a smartphone, and some students depend solely on the computer labs at school or university to be productive. 

I can only imagine the frustration they are experiencing at this time – especially knowing there’s little that can be done to help them. By Yanga Sibembe.

The rise in consumption of traditional brew


Archive Illustrative Photo: A general view of people purchasing drinks to have at home on March 20, 2020 in Soweto, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images/Papi Morake)

Protea, Soweto, Gauteng: One of the most controversial issues surrounding the national lockdown is the ban on alcohol and cigarettes. Since 21 March, traditional brew has gained in popularity around the country.  

A woman who sells the homemade brew in Protea South told Daily Maverick she had seen a huge spike in sales, with many new customers arriving since the start of lockdown. The woman, who asked to not be named for fear of police action, said she has been selling traditional brew for the past 18 years. She said her family would starve to death if she quit her business.

“I’m afraid the police and soldiers might come and close my business as I did not get a chance to go and apply for a trading licence,” she said.

What is scary about the consumption of traditional brew is that it could have devastating consequences. It is shared in huge containers by large groups at a time. And when customers ask for a refill, they don’t care if the container is rinsed before being refilled. “In all honesty, there usually is no time to rinse the containers,” the woman said.

“We cannot just hand [Police Minister] Bheki Cele victory. He thinks he has won by banning alcohol and cigarettes. We will still drink and smoke,” said one man who refused to be photographed. “You want to take my picture so that you can rat me out to that heartless police minister. Have a drink if that is what you want, but you won’t have my picture,” he said.

Some people felt the ban on alcohol did not apply to traditional brew. They claimed that they consumed it in their yards – but that is not the point. They still gather in groups wherever they are drinking it.

It will be interesting to see if law enforcement cracks down on the makers and drinkers of the popular traditional brew – or turn a blind eye. By Bheki C. Simelane. DM









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