By: Palesa Makanyane
Exactly 365 days ago on 26 March 2020, South Africa entered into a hard lockdown. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced level 5 restriction rules and this was the only way to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Coronavirus has modified our ways of living but not everyone has adjusted to the new norm. This Covid-19 lockdown has tested our livelihood and made it difficult for people who depend on the streets for survival.
The streets of South Africa were left empty after it was announced that no one should leave their home unless they are essential workers or going out for essentials. Soldiers patrolled the streets and malls around the country as soon as the lockdown was announced to ensure that everyone follows the law.
Ireen Manthata from Burgersfort, Ga-Phasha said the hardest thing about lockdown was forgetting a mask, the slow and long queues at shopping centres and being unable to travel to other provinces.
Meanwhile, Doreen Molapo (75), a street vendor explained how difficult it is to be an elder on the street trying to make a living by selling veggies.
“We heard Covid-19 affect older people because they are high risk, but I have to take care of my grandkids. My Sassa money does not sustain all our needs. My unemployed sons are selling next to the rank and I am scared that one of us gets infected; it means everyone will have it back at home. Regardless of everything we are thankful for the unemployment grants; it has made a huge difference for the youth specifically,” She said.
However, most businesses were ordered to stop operating to contain the spread of Covid-19. Tavern owner Ntswela Legora said although she was affected, the lockdown was a brilliant idea.
“The only way to survive was through my savings. I have kids; I don’t think I would have operated even if lockdown was not announced. I would rather lose my business than my family because of ignorance,” Said Ntswela.