South Africa


Holding on to music and some constants to overcome this uncertain time

Holding on to music and some constants to overcome this uncertain time
The view of Table Mountain from Daily Maverick's Cape Town office. (Photo: Suné Payne)

South Africa went into a hard lockdown on Friday 27 March in the hope of blocking the spread of Covid-19. The lockdown was extended for two weeks, then the country started slowly opening up. Currently, at Level 3 of lockdown, coronavirus cases have spiked, correlating with South Africans’ dwindling appetite for following regulations. These reflections are part of a weekly series that monitors stay-at-home life in various neighbourhoods.

Oranjezicht / Gardens, Cape Town: I walk into our office building in Kloof Street and the first thing I see is Table Mountain through the windows. Always there and never changing its appearance. A constant in an uncertain time. 

I’ve missed the office – the panoramic view outside as you walk into our floor, that smell of coffee that hits you when you walk into the kitchen, the utter anger that greets you when you realise someone has used your cup. Most of all, I miss Gerald’s laughter filling the whole floor on the days when he came into the office. 

I went back to the office twice in the last week, to pick up a few things and to do some work. Kloof Street is strange without the usual working crowds, without the students who come in for First Thursdays or to the nearby McDonald’s during the lunchtime rush. I wonder where the man who begs for food for his two children and female companion at the Spar is – are they safe, were they taken to Strandfontein, do they have food and a roof over their heads?

It is a strange feeling in the once busy street – there’s space on the pavement to walk, there is no loud hooting of taxis, calling tired workers to get in, so they can be transported to the public transport interchange in the CBD. 

The world around my office building feels alien, it has gone too quiet without the people who make it noisy. This pandemic, this lockdown, has taken them away. But if there’s one thing that is constant, it is the view of Table Mountain. It has stood the test of time. It has seen us at our best, at our colonial worst and, most of all, it has seen us get through some serious troubling times – like this pandemic. – By Sune Payne

We need to grit our teeth, push through it


The music of South African producer and disk jockey Fka Mash has been a constant companion for throughout lockdown. (Photo: Yanga Sibembe)

Johannesburg South, Gauteng – I’ve always been a firm believer in controlling what I can and not fretting about what is beyond my control.

However, with the whole Covid-19 situation and subsequent lockdown, I’ve found myself struggling at times – with motivation, with frustration, with helplessness. 

There is no doubt that this pandemic has plunged everyone into the unknown, with some falling in deeper than others. It has derailed future plans and dreams, has torn families apart – the works.

On a personal level, in spite of my anxiety with regards to the future, I have depended heavily on the warm embrace of music to push on, even on days when I am not actually sure where I’m pushing on to.

One artist who has been a constant companion for me in these tough times is Soweto-born house music disk jockey and producer, Fka Mash. On every occasion when I have felt things are bleak, his music has offered a hand of hope, saying “hold on”. 

My hope is that everyone one out there has their own version of Fka Mash’s music, which pushes them on even when they just want to escape all their problems and be at peace.

In the words of Steve McGown, Al-Qaeda’s longest held captive who lived to tell the story: “In a year we are going to look back at this and think ‘wow, that was something’. But tough times do pass. Sometimes we just have to grit our teeth, push on, be simple and get through it – just push through it.” – Yanga Sibembe

More people I know suspect they’ve been infected


The more the number of confirmed cases rise, the more people I know who are infected or suspect they’re infected, Karabo Mafolo writes.

Mowbray, Cape Town: Over the past two days, I’ve counted no fewer than 10 news reports and social media posts of people dying from Covid-19. We’re watching families and friends lose their loved ones and not have the usual closure that comes with grieving loved ones. Every day this week has felt like a different family was grieving someone who died due to Covid-19. 

The more days go by, the more people I know are getting tested or suspect they’re infected with the virus. It’s scary. A friend who had friends over last week is stressed out because her friend tested positive for Covid-19. Someone else I know who was at a meeting a few weeks ago went to get tested after he found out a colleague tested positive.

It is hard not to feel anxious about the numbers of confirmed cases. The more the numbers rise, the more it gets closer to home.

It’s a wild time to be living during this pandemic. It feels lonely sometimes, but we all need to play our part despite having lockdown fatigue. – Karabo Mafolo DM


"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

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