The stories about Life during Lockdown continue to come and today we have the reflections and experiences of Kat Gensicke:

My name is Katharina Lindiwe Gensicke and I am a 23-year-old, German-South African social developmental activist and student working in the digital education sector.

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

I live at home with my parents, younger brother and 2 dogs. Fortunately, I am still be able to continue working from home and so do both my parents thus during the week we all reside in our “work” zones in a small house attempting to continue our assigned tasks. I myself have struggled with mental health issues for many years thus this lockdown has led to moments of anxiety, stress, fear but also gratefulness and reflection.

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

Before lockdown our family has been able to gloss over and avoid any deep-seated issues and family discussions due to everyone in my family either working or attending university. Therefore, this lockdown has prevented us from avoiding any uncomfortable discussions and issues. This has led to some heated but necessary family meetings and has allowed for deeper connections and a better understanding of each other as individuals and as a family.

Additionally, I am in a long-term relationship and due to one of my partners family members being critically ill and high-risk we had decided to separately quarantine even before the lockdown. Therefore, this lockdown has led to my partner and I having to rely on WhatsApp, video calls and other platforms to communicate. Yet this has not led to a breakdown in our communication but rather a strengthening of the relationship as sometimes we relied on us being together next to each other as enough instead of actually communicating effectively.

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

One of the biggest triggers of my panic attacks are the feelings of uncertainty and helplessness. I have always been a huge social developmental activist and my family has been involved in NPO and NGO work in disadvantaged communities my whole life thus this pandemic has resulted in these feelings of not being able to assist everyone, not knowing how to assist and feelings of guilt (I get to sit in a house with a garden, food and WIFI and millions do not).

Furthermore, the fear of the uncertain future – I usually plan my weeks and months to allow for stability – yet now I can’t do that anymore.

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

This lockdown and the pandemic has allowed for some citizens and companies to introspect and focus on their neighbours, their own communities and their own country. So many times, before this pandemic I have seen many people complain, blame others and look at “greener pastures” overseas yet this lockdown has forced many to rather focus on the people and communities around them.

It has allowed for some, including myself, to acknowledge reality, slow down our fast-paced lives and to be more present in the present. It has also led me to consciously acknowledge what I am grateful for this leading to many positive and reflective moments.

Do you have anything that you would you like to say to the people of South Africa at this time?

Everyone is in the same storm yet not everyone weathers it the same. Be mindful that people deal with crises differently and that doesn’t mean that any process is wrong or right. Some are able to prepare for a storm; some have an umbrella and some are completely drenched. Be mindful of others – reach out as much as you can but do not forget about yourself: self-love and self-care.

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Thanks so much Kat Gensicke.

[For more stories of Life during Lockdown, click here]