South Africa is on a 21 day lockdown. It began at midnight on Thursday night.
To be completely honest, I doubted our countries ability to follow through with this. But in my area, they’re being really strict about it. A friend went to buy bread yesterday, and was stopped by the police – questioned as to why he was out, and then his registration number was taken down. He was warned that he was not allowed out again yesterday – and that he needed to be quick about his bread trip. I’m sort of impressed.
They’ve limited all movement – you may not walk your dog, the beaches are closed, you may not leave your house for any form of physical exercise, even if you’re wearing a mask.
Unfortunately, I woke up yesterday to confirmed reports in my area of eleven house break ins between midnight and 5am – that’s a lot for an area where there are only about 9000 of us living (total population is about 13 000, but the balance reside in an informal settlement.)
As I suspected, despite these strict measures in place, crime is on the rise.
Because we’re a people where the majority live below the poverty line. Our unemployment rate is higher than anywhere else. Many don’t have access to social media or television. They didn’t know about the proposed lock down until they got to work on Tuesday. There are a lot of casual labourers who now have no income whatsoever – and were living hand to mouth anyway on the days they were able to work. It’s heartbreaking. In a place where people are already hungry, and struggling to survive, this was like a death sentence.
There will be no government assistance for individuals or small businesses.
Us self employed people? You just gotta make it work.
Domestic abuse and child rape is alarmingly high here. I feel ill about the 21 day lock down.
Then the government announced on Thursday morning that Thursday would be the last day you could purchase cigarettes and alcohol for this lock down period. And my little area went wild. Alcohol is a big coping mechanism around here – and although I have never been one to turn to it, for some reason I get it.
But here’s where things got nasty.
Because suddenly, instead of buying food to see them through, way too many spent their wages or the stipend they received on stocking up on alcohol to see them through. When you’re an individual, then sure, that’s your choice. When you have a family? They’re paying a price I don’t even want to think about.
Then my mind wandered to the alcoholics with families who just didn’t have the money to stock up at all. What happens when they go cold turkey?
And all these things? They pretty much knocked the wind out of my sails yesterday.
I know these are not MY decisions or choices.
I know I am not responsible for any of it.
I know that ‘carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders’ is a very heavy burden that I should not be trying to bear.
I know that this has nothing to do with me personally. (I may still be affected by the rise in crime, but I am safer than most.)
My heart aches anyway. And I cry despite that knowledge. And I still wish I could do something to change it all.
But all I can do is stay at home, and pray really hard, for my fellow man out there – despite his/her skin colour, sexual orientation, poor life choices etc etc etc.
I know that this is not a very encouraging post to read. I know that this is a little bit unlike me. However, I also know that being honest about the impacts of the virus and not just the virus itself can also lead to an increase in awareness of those around us, and the need to pray, for those who do.
Please do check back tomorrow – my feelings will still be the same, but I promise that I will write something more uplifting ❤