Hey everyone and welcome to another episode of Life during Lockdown where Beauty Bokwani will be telling us a little bit about herself and her experiences. Let’s start with her bio:

My name is Beauty  Bokwani. I’m the owner of Zoe Educare in Extention  13  Belhar. I love to tell stories; writing children’s stories memoirs, and poetry.

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

“My fellow South Africans…”  This was how the president introduced the vicious coronavirus to us. But it was already living amongst us. Killing us one by one; in silence. We couldn’t see it. Only the pain it caused was visible.  It forced us to experience the most horrible imprisonment especially here in Extention 13 Belhar.

We grew up without any rules, discipline, or respect. Coronavirus had the ability to call on the police and army officials to discipline those severely who don’t obey the rules set by the president without receiving any bribes. The drug lords and gangsters had to step down and hand their powers over to the coronavirus.

The streets were empty and quiet. No drugs to sell no money to bribe the police. The shebeens were closed. The alcoholics are drinking spirits that we used to light the blue flame with. The dagga smokers are drying used teabags to smoke. The other not so desperate alcohol users are buying pineapples and potatoes to brew homemade beer. Some of the drug addicts are dying. One of them was the mother of a five-year-old boy who was attending my daycare before lockdown.

She felt a sharp pain on her stomach.  Her family rushed her to the hospital. She died while waiting for the doctor to attend to her and left four children behind.

The lockdown created confusion fear and anger in our community.  Anger boiled deep inside of us.  Hardworking men and women went from providers to beggars.

The fights started.

People fight at the spaza shops and inside their homes.  Men were beating up their wives and the mothers were beating up their children. The children ran to The streets until the police rescue them.

Another group of people wasn’t so worried; because they put themselves voluntarily under lockdown. I’m talking about those men and women who woke up early to stand on the street corners with a cup of steaming coffee; gossiping.

“Did you hear?” asked aunty Marie?  “Hear what?” asked uncle Earl. “Katrien is as mad as a batter”, said aunt Marie. “The poor thing; this corona is not good.” Said Lizzy. “Katrien can’t go out to scratch in people’s bins for tins and empty plastic bottles to sell.  She is just screaming nowadays.” I felt a sharp pain deep inside my heart. Poor Katrien who suffers from mental illness got beaten every time she went to stand in the line to collect a cup of soup and bread.

I personally never felt this way before

A feeling too intense to describe with words. Perhaps I should act it out or express it through dancing. As I closed my eyes; I inhaled a deep breath, sitting on the chair, imagining moving; going on a bus ride. Suddenly the bus slowed down. I opened my eyes and saw a deep dark hole. I opened my mouth to scream. Silence escaped my lips. I closed my eyes.again and stood up to hold onto the rails inside the bus. The sun was shining inside of me when I opened my eyes again. It gave me hope mixed with fear while I’m waiting for the next announcement.  “My fellow  South  Africans…”

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

I felt connected to other people through going through the same situations, sharing our feelings with each other through social media. And having personal conversations on the phone.

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

My biggest fear is what is going to happen to the children in Early Childhood Development; and to the principals and teachers of the centres. How long is lockdown going to last? Will young people be still alive after this because they treat the fact that the coronavirus kills as a joke? What’s going to happen to people  in my community

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

I find the fact that I could write more and tell stories very uplifting. The fact that the whole world is sympathising with each other through social media.

A Bonus question/opportunity for you to say something you would like to say to South Africans at the moment..

Don’t  lose hope. Keep on obeying the rules to curve the spread of the virus. Show each other love. Be there for each other. Remember God is bigger than anything.

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Thank you so much Beauty for sharing such important observances and reflections of what this time has been like for you and your community.

[Time for the children as we hear some of their reflections – click here]