As we continue with our series looking at Life during Lockdown, let me invite Yvonne to introduce herself:

My name is Yvonne (de la Rey) Smith and I am a wife, mother, aunt, daughter, sister, friend, educator, motivator, awakener, comedian, singer and general everything!

[1] What has been your experience of lockdown so far?

It was very daunting at the onset. I did not know what to expect – I am a planner by nature, but I just had to ‘go with the flow’ for a while. As a teacher, I am doing online lessons from home and that has helped me to stick to some semblance of routine.

My husband and I have to take deep breaths and allow each other to deal with these trying circumstances accordingly. Doing weekly shopping is also challenging; many people do NOT understand the importance of social distancing etc. I have some good days and some not-so-good ones, but trying to cope as best I can.

[2] What are some of the ways [if any] that you have felt connected to people during this time?

I have maintained contact with many of my colleagues and friends – I feel compelled to motivate them as much as possible (I am generally a positive person). I also made contact with people I don’t often speak to, via voice-notes. Listening to these was like sitting in a coffee shop with them; these really made a difference to my down days!

I have also felt a strong connection to my ‘fellow South Africans’ when sitting and listening to our esteemed President address the nation. Many of the comments (before and after) from the citizens of this country are aligned with my own train of thought and gives me a sense of confidence in the way forward.

Yvonne de la rey Smith

[3] What are you most anxious or fearful about right now?

The future! We are dealing with something unknown and unpredictable! I worry about my sons and their wives – they are all in the hospitality/tourism/entertainment industry and it is very unclear how these industries are going to pan out. There are also times that I fear for the health and safety of my loved ones, not limited to my family. At times I feel like the whole nation’s health and safety is on my mind!

I am also anxious about finishing the 2020 school syllabus, but we have to remain focused and do whatever we can to make it happen. Nothing is impossible!

[4] What is something [some of the things] that has felt really positive/uplifting/inspiring to you during lockdown?

I have been uplifted and inspired by the leadership of our President. He has to make decisions that affect an entire nation; no matter what he does, he is going to be criticised! I would not want to be in his shoes. I have the utmost respect for this remarkable man.

The unwavering generosity of people has left me speechless. The willingness of citizens to make a difference to the lives of others is something I will always be in awe of. People really do care for those who need help!

The sacrifices people are making has also been incredible to witness. Our health workers in particular need to be applauded, along with all other groups who are out there in the field!

This lockdown situation has also inspired me to adopt an attitude of gratitude and to refocus my priorities. I honestly have no cause to complain about anything.

I have an amazing subject head at school who has been a beacon of light. He spreads sunshine and positivity to our team on a daily basis. His encouragement and support have made a tangible difference during this lockdown period.

I have also been inspired by the sharing and teaching of Christian people, who have restored my faith in God and who have encouraged me to rebuild my spiritual health!

Yvonne de la Rey Smith

Bonus: what would you like to say to the people of South Africa at this time?

Fellow citizens, we need to think beyond our own wants and needs. We cannot hope to get through to the other side if we do not consider others. Strive to lead by example, follow the protocols and attempt to practice kindness at every turn! God Bless Africa!

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Thank you, Yvonne, for sharing those thoughts.

[For another story from Irma Oosthuizen, click here]