Nonhle Makhaya, who is a performing artist originally from Durban, but is now based in Hamburg, Germany. 
PICTURE: INSTAGRAM
Nonhle Makhaya, who is a performing artist originally from Durban, but is now based in Hamburg, Germany. PICTURE: INSTAGRAM

How to cope with social distancing

By Buhle Mbonambi Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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South Africans are practising social distancing and working from home. Schools are closed for the next month and with the rate of infections increasing, more people are going to be staying at home. So how does one handle all the time we now have to spend at home? 

We spoke to Nonhle Makhaya, who is a performing artist originally from Durban, but is now based in Hamburg, Germany. 

The country has one of the highest infection rates in the world and has been on lockdown since March 11. 

When your government told you that it was time to self-isolate and work remotely, did your fears about Covid-19 kick in? 

A lot of events, including gigs I was booked to perform at, were already being cancelled at the beginning of March. So, as a self-employed/freelance performing artist, the pandemic started directly affecting me – way before the German government announced a national shut-down on March 11. 

Fear only kicked in when the borders to neighbouring countries started getting closed and President Ramaphosa announced a restriction on travel from Germany into South Africa. I hold a German citizenship and so the thought of not being allowed entry into my country of birth, where my whole family is, is eerie.

When did you realise how serious this virus is?

When the second gig was cancelled. The first time, I thought the event manager was taking extra precautionary measures, but when the second cancellation came in, I knew the situation was getting serious. 
So what does one do during this time? What did you do to pass the time?

Prioritise your mental health. I spend a lot of time journalling, praying or meditating. I jog and do home exercises. Keep in mind that this is a health issue, so take care of your physical health too. Avoid sitting in front of the TV, eating junk food or scrolling through social media all day. Spend 30 minutes each day doing some exercise. I also went through my contacts and made a list of all my friends and relatives, and contacted them to see how they were coping.

Any tips you can share on how to get through it?

There will be a lot of misinformation circulating on WhatsApp groups and on Facebook. A lot of opinions, conspiracies, and even capitalists capitalising on your fear. Get your information only from The Presidency, The Department of Health, the World Health Organisation, and reliable media. This is going to be a scary, confusing and stressful time, so be mindful and patient with those around you. 
When the time comes and the world is ‘normal’ again, what do you look forward to doing the most? 

I look forward to being on stage again. I look forward to travelling again. I was planning on visiting Prague during the Easter weekend, but that’s cancelled. I truly believe I’ll look forward to freedom the most.  

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