The art of finding love in lockdown
Before Covid-19, single South Africans commonly searched for connections and love with the use of platforms such as Tinder, which was the most downloaded app on IOS and Android in the country last year.
Nazareen Ebrahim, chief executive of social tech enterprise Socially Acceptable, said: “(Tinder’s) first-quarter performance for 2020 showed 6 million paying customers buying premium features that can get them closer to their partner of choice.
“Tinder CEO Elie Seidman had to understand with his team how to serve users that relied on in-person meeting, especially a group of this size, paying for the platform.
“The answer was in changing social culture to get people to have shared experiences online.
“This, while keeping in line with lockdown regulation, heightened security to protect users who match and use video conferencing within the platform.”
* Brenda Jones, from Blue Downs, said she went into lockdown optimistic about a man she had begun dating, and physical contact regulations haven’t stopped them from pursuing a relationship.
“He was working during the lockdown so he would come to visit me before he went home,” said Jones, who initially gave up on meeting someone special online.
Kas Naidoo, a relationship coach and professional matchmaker, said even if you’re not dating anyone, this was a good time for introspection.
“When it comes to our businesses we have found creative ways to work remotely, so my question is why not when it comes to finding love,” said Naidoo.
Lockdownlovestories.com is a participatory arts project by Philippa Found, who describes herself as “an artist, writer and curator”.
Lovers can anonymously post on the site about dating during lockdown and how they keep the spark alive.
Stories range from long-form essays to a few paragraphs, like one entitled “I Miss Her, I Haven’t Even Seen Her Yet”.
In it, a man writes: “We met randomly five days before I left my country to come here to work.
“We’ve been talking every day since March, yet I’ve never seen her in person. When we do video calls all I can think about is how much I’d love to hold her hand, kiss her neck, smell her long curly hair.”
Marni Battista, founder of Dating with Dignity, said that along with self-isolation and quarantine there was a sense of grieving and loss for many people, including singles.
She added: “If one of your beliefs is ‘dating is too hard right now’,... Look for ways that these beliefs might be a similar version of a story you have been holding on to about why love is out of reach for you.”
* Not her real name