Continuing the series on Life during Lockdown, let me introduce you to my friend, Kerzia Chetty, in her own words:

My name is Kerzia Chetty and I am a mom, wife and businesswoman. 

Question 1: What has your experience of lockdown been so far?

My experience of the lockdown has been nothing short of a personal nightmare! I know that when I say that, I say it loaded with privilege but that is my reality. I am a lover of order and perfection and the norm. Nothing about the lockdown is normal. As a sufferer of anxiety, this has thrown me into a constant battle of fighting to stay calm and I find myself practicing my various techniques from my therapist almost daily.

I have a 1-year-old, who I love more than life itself and who I live to make happy and content. This time has been very trying because as I said, I put pressure on myself to make sure she is constantly happy. She is not at a stage where I can explain to her what is going on and her daily routine has completely changed. At first, it was a struggle to get her to become comfortable with the new reality and routine. My heart broke every time she threw herself on the floor in a tantrum because I knew she was struggling with the sudden change. She is not a child who complains and tantrums and has become one.

Our clothing manufacturing business has had to shut down. Therefore we have had zero income. Our last full salary was before the lockdown as we paid our staff their salaries and some more, therefore forfeiting our own salaries. We had worked out that we would manage on the initial lockdown days.. With the extension, we are starting to look at finances with great fear in our eyes.

Question 2: What are some of the ways that you have felt connected to people?

Ways in which I felt connected with people? In all honesty, I haven’t. I find myself longing to see other people. I say this with great amazement because I am an introvert who generally doesn’t like being around other people. I have been attempting to stay connected to people via social media and messaging but find it makes me more frustrated because it’s more of a reminder of our new reality.

My family consists of parents and 1 sister. We are so close and I see my parents at least twice a week. Not being able to see and spend quality time with my circle is killing me softly! I miss them with every fibre of my body!!!! Video calls just don’t do the trick, that’s exactly what it is… A trick!

Question 3: What are you most anxious or fearful about right now?

My fears are that this will be extended indefinitely. I fear this staying the norm. I fear I will never be able to provide the life I wished on my child. I fear the invisible enemy. I’m anxious about the lack of control I have over my own life.

I fear my child’s schooling will be hindered because I am not a teacher, I have no idea what’s right and wrong when it comes to teaching and the correct stimulation at the right stages of her little life.

I fear our business not being able to open again when all is done.

Question 4: What is something that you have found inspiring or uplifting during lockdown?

The positive I have got out of this lockdown is the time I have been gifted with to spend time with my growing baby. I probably would have missed out on all these small things such as the first time she put the correct shape in its matching hole. She also clings to me like never before, which some would see as a negative but I love that she turns to me for comfort and safety even more now.

I also saw many South Africans come out and share what little they have with others. I saw the government open their pockets and see the poor and homeless as people who need food and shelter.

A bonus thought from Kerzia Chetty to her fellow South Africans?

With all the negatives around my experience, I recognize that I am lucky to have these problems and I pray for those South Africans whose lives are hanging on by a thread because of this virus. My heart breaks for those who have to be locked down in a room with a toilet and running water a few meters away, who have no money for nappies so use a facecloth and plastic bag! And I feel selfish saying we will get through it together because our togetherness is worlds apart!

Our togetherness is a mockery of others suffering! My prayer and hope is that God has mercy on the nation of South Africa and we miraculously get through this pandemic with minimal casualties and back to norm quicker than anticipated.

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Thank you SO MUCH for sharing Kerzia Chetty and i especially appreciate your vulnerability in all this. i can only imagine that your experience and some of your struggles and fears will resonate with so many people around the country. It feels life-giving that you are so honest in such a real way.

Even with her choice of picture, Kezia shows boldness and vulnerability and in her words: This lockdown pic may just look like a pic to some but to those who know me, this is nothing like I regularly look like! My hair is in its natural state of curls, zero self-maintenance been done, such as eyebrows and tiny bit of makeup to look alive! 

[For another story from Yvonne de la Rey Smith, click here]