South Africa

LOCKDOWN REFLECTIONS: DAY 77

Talking about a revolution in a time of Coronavirus

Talking about a revolution in a time of Coronavirus
11 June 2020 marks 10 years since South Africa became the first African country to host a Fifa Soccer World Cup. I look back at it with mixed emotions because Bafana Bafana performed below par, but I take comfort in that as a country we put on a great show for the world during that month. (Photo: Mbali Sibembe)

South Africa went into a 21-day lockdown on Friday 27 March in the hope of blocking the spread of Covid-19. The lockdown was extended for two weeks, then Level 4 kicked in, followed by Level 3. These reflections are part of a series by writers monitoring stay-at-home life in various neighbourhoods.

See Pre-Lockdown Reflections here; Day 1 here; Day 7;  Day 14; Day 21 and Day 28 here, day 35 here, day 42 here, day 49 here, day 56 here, day 63 here and day 70 here

I hope Africa gets a chance to play host again

Johannesburg South, Gauteng – This week of my lockdown has been dominated by extracts of people taking a trip down memory lane, 10 years down nostalgia street to be exact.

Ten years ago this week, there was fanfare galore as our country prepared to welcome the world for the Fifa  2010 Soccer World Cup. To date, it is the one and only time that an African country has hosted the tournament.

The show would get on the road on 11 June, which was a Friday. It would kick off emphatically too, thanks to the magical left foot of Simphiwe Tshabalala against Mexico.

I can still hear the commentator rejoice as Shabba launched the rocket strike past Mexico’s hapless goalkeeper. “Goal for Bafana Bafana, goal for South Africa, goal for all Africa.”

I was 18 years old at the time, doing my matric. And, unfortunately, I could not afford tickets to any game, so I had to watch on television as  some of the biggest stars in world football played in my backyard.

I look back at it now and it is somewhat bittersweet. Despite that moment from Tshabalala, and despite them beating the losing finalists of the previous World Cup (France), Bafana Bafana became the first host nation ever to get eliminated in the group stages of a Fifa World Cup.

In spite of that disappointment, lifetime memories were created and the legacy of South Africa hosting a World Cup, one which then Fifa President Sepp Blatter described as the best to date, lives on. Hopefully, the continent will get the opportunity to host another one in my lifetime, and this time I can go soak in the atmosphere as a professional sports journalist. Yanga Sibembe

Taking care of yourself is a revolutionary act

Taking care of yourself is a revolutionary act of peace, especially in this uncertain time- in the middle of a pandemic. (Photo: Suné Payne)

Oranjezicht, Cape Town: Jhene Aiko has the perfect words to describe exactly what I am feeling at this moment in time: tired but I’m fired up. 

The events of the past few weeks have started to get to me: social media, especially Twitter, has become a very toxic space, George Floyd gets killed by the very men supposed to protect him, protests have flared up across the world and statues finally get toppled of the murderous and genocidal Belgian King Leopold II. And then there are allegations of racism and discrimination levelled at many private and former Model C schools – which I have written about, available at Racism allegations surface at private schools.

And as expected, in the wake of #BlackLivesMatter, there are rumblings of what about plaasmoorde? 

It is exhausting, this cycle of news. On top of it, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. But I am nervous and excited to see how everything turns out, with this collective energy for change. In this process, I’ve also realised that I need to take care of myself, especially in a wintry Cape Town. This lockdown has forced me to take care of my body and examine the amount of stress I have put myself and my body in while contemplating when this lockdown will eventually end. Then I decided that it’s time to take care of my body, relax and switch off when I am not working. I’ve discovered a brilliant podcast called Skeleton Keys and I am now following a YouTube rewatch show of my favourite season of American Horror Story, Hotel.

Taking care of yourself is a revolutionary act. It is an act of well-being. It is an act of peace. And it is exactly what we need to step forward into our next few years. – Sune Payne

Our  Republic is built on hypocrisy

Two copies of the Constitution lay at my workstation this morning. My 10-month-old had been playing with one. (Photo: Sumeya Gasa)

Emmarentia, Johannesburg: It’s day 77 and on the news is the live broadcast of the funeral service for Tshegofatso Pule. Yet another young woman has lost her life at the hands of an abusive, murderous man. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve felt my sense of disillusionment grow.

I’m disillusioned with the state of this country that is governed by the “best constitution in the world”. I often feel our Constitution, like many of our other great policies and legislations, is ornamental. 

How many times have we, as a nation, watched as the most unconstitutional events unfold? We’ve watched as severe crimes went unpunished – especially when committed by our officials. 

The lockdown has brought a lot of “constitutional” challenges but some get more airtime than others. 

For instance, we have witnessed the ongoing cigarette ban battle wage on zealously to this day. And of course, people should be able to smoke if they want to. In fact, we might be better off with the Police Minister’s heavy hand on the consumption of alcohol. Our poor healthcare workers have already dealt with enough without the reinstated alcohol casualties added to their plate during this most stressful health crisis.

But then there’s Collins Khosa. And there are others who have died at the hands of the defence and police forces during this lockdown. And plenty more harmed. And when I compare the amount of breath that has gone into ventilating the tobacco ban versus the murder of Khosa, I am reminded of our Constitution.

Our President recently said he “regrets” the death of Khosa. I don’t care much for his regret. He is the same man who had a role in fathers being killed in Marikana for demanding a decent, living wage. If you ask me, our entire Republic is built on hypocrisy. From our ornamental Constitution, to our racist schools and institutions of higher learning. From the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, who is currently on television condemning the murder of Tshhegofatso Pule, and to our “concomitant action” President. – Sumeya Gasa

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