It was on the 26th March 2020 when the President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, wished the National Defence Force and South African Police Services well for the duties that lied ahead (South African Government:2020). The duties would entail enforcing strict measures that would ensure that citizens abide by the lockdown restrictions. President Cyril Ramaphosa finally enforced the 21-day nation-wide lockdown.
Phiwe Mncwabe is a South African resident in the Western side of Johannesburg. An Afrikan feminist, a born storyteller, avid reader and dabbler of note. A lover of the African continent, aspiring to travel across Africa. She is aspiring to become a strategic problem solver in social and developmental challenges facing Africa. In the isolation of her interests in activism, she has explored academia in the field of social sciences in Development studies. She is writing, reading and searching to enter writing spaces in Africa. For more reflections and conversations you can write to [email protected]
According to the South African Government (2020), the nation-wide lockdown will be enacted in terms of the Disaster Management Act wherein most of the population compelled to stay at home. The measures adopted are considered to reduce and contain the spread of COVID 19. With the growing numbers of COVID 19, a nation-wide lockdown happened to come as the solution. Whilst many citizens could not wait for the 21-day lockdown, anxiety crept in for some.
For some citizens, the lockdown meant relaxation, meditation, rest, rediscovery and direction. This lockdown meant it was rather a time to bring order to their lives. Spending quality time with loved ones and completing that novel by the bedside. Cooking that favourite recipe and meeting weight loss goals. The nation-wide lockdown meant waking up a little later than usual and some days catching up with Netflix. Ideas being shared on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook regarding daily plans. This nationwide lockdown meant serenity and more.
Creative minds blooming with the hashtag #dontrushchallenge on social media. Entertainment through music, sharing the latest e-books and making most of this time. Waking up to memorable moments on social media and developing new skills. For some, it was really a time to be alive, a time for the living rather. A time to love South Africa and be united.
The downside to the nation-wide lockdown or what we forgot to consider is the “dependency disorder”. We forgot to take into consideration that some people cannot go be bed without having a beer at the Pub. We dismissed that some cannot stay in solitude, they need people around them to cope. We forgot that some are fighting demons secretly and in times like these, it will either make or break them.
The nation-wide lockdown is a dreaded time in some households. This is the time that others will be tested in many ways. The women and girls are confronted by their abuser’s day in and out. Some women are secretly praying that these “monsters” who beat them, don’t kill them during the lockdown. Some families are hoping that their daughters don’t come out as a corpse. This nationwide lockdown is not the same for everyone. The more I think about it, I cannot help but panic. I cannot help but be anxious because so many households have challenges.
I think about the citizen who lives alone, living with Depression or Bipolar Disorder. No family member in town or friends around. Friends came in the form of colleagues which they can barely see because chatting on WhatsApp makes no difference. COVID 19 really shifted and changed the lives of many. These are trying times for many indeed.
The nation-wide lockdown also welcomes the increase of poverty in many households. For the man or the woman who must get up every morning to put food on the table. What will become of the children? Many have no idea where the next meal will come from. In some households, food is being rationed to last longer. There is anxiety because many are not sure when Day 16 knocks, will the children have food.
There are those who have taken it upon themselves to begin grieving for their loved ones living in rural areas. Many will not be present when family members are laid to rest. We did not expect that curbing COVID 19 would bring so much change in South Africa. This nation-wide lockdown is a very challenging period that we are faced with.
In the midst of all that is happening around us and, in our lives, I really do hope and pray that we come out better people. We recovery, unite and heal. Who knows maybe, the pandemic’s presence will give the abused courage to walk away from their abusive relationships or marriages? I hope we get our lives together and emerge stronger.