By Garth Johnstone
When people ask me how we’re doing, or how are we handling the lockdown situation, I’m never really sure how to respond.
We are blessed to have loads of space, about an acre, beautiful gardens and lots of open space on surrounding properties. Physically, we are very comfortable, and couldn’t ask for a better place in which to see out the lockdown.
We have supplies, are healthy and have plenty to eat and drink.
But then at the back of the mind are all these niggling concerns and anxiety about the future for our friends and family, and the broader community.
We worry that friends, family and local community members are going to be healthy, and hope that the virus soon peaks and then goes away (might be wishful thinking, we could be a long way off still). We are worried for our fellow countrymen and women, particularly those living in shack settlements and in close confines.
It is surely impossible to be “under lockdown” and practise physical distancing when three or four people live together in a small shack, and the abodes are packed close together.
And then there are the appalling financial implications. We know of people who have lost their jobs, have had their salaries cut, some of them just don’t know if they will have a job next month, or the month thereafter. There are too many variables, even some of their bosses probably don’t know.
Uncertainty is the real enemy right now, and it’s playing tricks on all our minds, bringing out stress in unusual ways that we are not used to.
How many times have I heard the words, “when this is all over”, and “when things get back to normal”, but are we heading back to normal, and what is the new normal going to be?
South Africa needs to end the lockdown: here's a blueprint for its replacement https://t.co/s2QlPzADjF
— Adam Habib (@AdHabb) April 9, 2020
So when people ask, how are you handling the lockdown, I shrug and feel stupid and say something like, “OK, I guess”.
We are only into the 16th day of the original 21 days of lockdown… and after that there will be two more weeks, until the end of April. The picture is going to change again in another week’s time.
In my view, President Cyril Ramaphosa had no option but to make the call he did, imposing the lockdown. With the top job in the land, it is his duty to protect the wellbeing and lives of all South Africans. He made the tough calls and, assisted by Zweli Mkhize, has shown great leadership.
This might well be President Ramaphosa’s “big moment”, the one thing for which he is always remembered.
Let’s pray they and their leadership team can help chart a course into calmer, more healthy and prosoperous waters when, one day, South Africa emerges from the other side of this horrendous Covid-19 hole.