I am writing from my study in Benoni, it’s the 31/03/2020. COVID-19 is no joke, the epidemic charts show us entwined with the world in a war of our lives.
Never has the whole world faced such an epidemic, never before has the world economy come to a standstill. Never before have people felt more helpless and afraid. We are all vulnerable, all of us including our loved ones. We are potential victims of this monster.
We are a few weeks behind Italy and Wuhan, yet our citizens are behaving as if this is not a serious life-threating war that we are fighting. I see cars in the street, queues of people doing shopping.
I watch on the social media platforms as our people fight with security service and police, against social distancing, as they refuse to believe that this virus will attack a certain sector of the community. That only the wealthy or those who have travelled will be affected. COVID will and does not discriminate. Covid attacks and in some case kills, it is not “just the flu”, and yes all the precautions are necessary.
Isolation is the only real prevention and as frustrating as it is, it’s necessary. #STAYHOME. Please just #STAYHOME.
I realise being locked up is not fun, but imagine some of our citizens who live in shacks, 3M by 3M. Imagine the frustration, imagine the isolation of not having access to all the social media or any other form of media and simply having a draconian police force threating you with violence or squats (lol). Imagine how moms must feel not being able to feed their children, not having the resources we have. Will they sleep tonight?
I salute the health workers, the police and security companies, the tellers and shop workers, the Doctors and nurses at the front line. Thank you.
First, we will eat, and then we wonder if we will have enough food for the time we are ” locked up”? We have joined dozens of social networking groups and are exercising to try and stay sane. We are reaching out for connections everywhere because we are not meant to be isolated. Connecting sometimes with people we swore never to talk to again, as falling out in the past as resentment has no place in your heart during this time.
We are researching on how to spend our days resourcefully and not waste this time. Our days are filled with unstoppable social life. We are scheduling zoom meetings and skyping our adult children. The realisation that we won’t be able to be there with them should something happen, hits us like a ton of bricks. It’s a new world and we need to be brave. The countdown to “our release” has begun. We are planning to get-together, but are still unsure of our economic health.
We watch as Italy sings from the balconies and join our own block braais, even if we just sit on the pavement and are unable to see each other. We need just to be part of a community. To feel safe. We are scheduling times to sing the National anthem to stay a brave nation. We are Africans. We are brave and we are strong.
Yet you ask ourself is this how our country will collapse? Can it really happen so fast? What happened to our democracy? Is this real, is this what is happening? We are fearful when we go for a supply run, the connection we sought we now fear, with masks and distance.
We go home and will eat again and connect again from afar and hope that we have stopped this monster, that we are flattening the curve. We laugh at all the mems sent to us and contemplate the absurdity of our current situation. Yet our hearts are uneasy, we are asking why all the time. Suddenly all that was important holds no grounds, our fancy cars and houses, our good jobs and shopping sprees. Simple survival is paramount to our existence.
This is a difficult time and I acknowledge that. I know you want to drown out the thoughts that consume your mind every day. The economics of the current situation, the downgrading to junk status. The impact the lockdown will have on thousands. But mostly on you personally. So indulge yourself, binge, watch Netflix, eat again and be happy. These are difficult times. Unprecedented.
My prayer for every one of you is survival. I wish that at the end of this monster, that you are not the same that never again will you take simple life and family for granted. I wish that your lockdown time makes you reflect on just how privileged you are to have a roof over your head. That it brings out a more loving generous and giving person. That it resets your brain. That you realise that status does not define you and that in a flash it can all be gone. That you realise that in the end, all that matters is family and friends.
Know that when you step out of lockdown that you were one of the lucky ones and that you and I will never be the same again.
God Bless South Africa. God Bless the world.