Capetonians are feeling the grim milestone of 200 days of lockdown
Cape Town - With the reality of being in lockdown kicking in for at least 200 days, the impact on ordinary South Africans has been severe.
Individuals from all walks of life and working in different sectors have reflected on the past 200 days.
Patrick Holo, 72, lives in Khayelitsha and sells his artwork in the Company’s Garden. Apart from his business being affected by the lockdown, he did not pay much mind to the virus and connected this to his strong sense of faith.
“When they started to announce it (lockdown) on TV, it was so strongly said that they made people very frightened. I never had that fear. It never came to me (virus), but lately that fear has disappeared. Nobody at home has been touched by this (virus).”
Felix Chughuda, originally from Tanzania, has been in South Africa for the past nine years and lives in a shelter in Woodstock. Most days, Chughuda can be found playing his guitar in the Company’s Garden for donations.
“I learnt to become humble because in the shelter you have to stay every day inside, so to avoid fights I had to be humble.”
Melanie Lubbe, secretariat at the South African Disability Alliance, said the most devastating outcome of the lockdown had been the financial impact on non-profit organisations (NPOs).
“Most disabled persons that I know personally or from our membership base rely on state health facilities, and the service has been poor, to say the least.
Transport was not only inaccessible, but unavailable and a health risk to persons with compromised immune systems Just to arrive at a state hospital to be turned away because they don’t have stock of much-needed chronic medicines.”
Resident at the League of Friends of the Blind, Tsheko Tlou, 36, said as a blind person, physical distancing had disconnected him from his community, and he wondered if people would hesitate or would not know how to help him, when needed.
Charmaine Pretorius from Hillview 2 informal settlement has been running a community soup kitchen for the past 13 years. Her work and need for food relief has been exacerbated due to the lockdown.
“We never expected the lockdown to last this long. When the president announced it the first time in March it was said the lockdown would be for 21 days. We never expected anything like this. We were promised so many things, like food hampers for the people which they never received up to now, 200 days later. It was really sad to see how our communities suffered.”
First year BA student at UWC, Raghmah Jacobs, 19, from Bridgetown, Athlone, said before the Western Cape was hit by the virus, terms such as quarantine and lockdown seemed like a distant myth.
“Now, 200 days after lockdown was first announced, it is more real than ever. I never expected lockdown to last as long as it has. I assumed that the world’s greatest minds would find a cure in a matter of months. I know now that it was just wishful thinking.
“The prospect of finding a cure for Covid-19 may be grim now, but it does not stop me from hoping that one day, in the not so distant future, I might hug a friend or family member I haven’t seen for months without the fear of being infected.”