President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Monday night, 23 March 2020, and announced that the country will be going on a 21-day lockdown in order to help control the corona epidemic that the country is facing. “In the days, weeks and months ahead, our resolve, our resourcefulness and our unity as a nation will be tested as never before. I call upon all of us, one and all, to play our part. To be courageous, to be patient and above all,
to show compassion,” President Ramaphosa said.
Bloemfontein Courant has interviewed some residents to find out how they will be spending
their 21 days as well as the impact the lockdown will have on them.
Educator, Clayton Andries, told Bloemfontein Courant that the lockdown is going to take a toll on the academic year, especially on the matric learners throughout the country. “I don’t think anyone is ever ready for such a thing, or prepared.
I personally feel that I am not ready. As I am still confused about what is happening. Yes, we have information, but at the same time false information is also being spread via media. In terms of what I need for the lockdown, I believe my family and I have enough supplies (food, sanitizers, wipes, vitamins pills, etc),” said Andries.
He also mentioned that he is worried about informal settlements and poverty stricken areas. “How are the people going to survive? We have mothers and fathers, elderly people work on a day-to-day basis to make ends meet; what about the street vendors? There are people who have no access to media in any form and are not regularly informed about what is happening around them. What also worries me, is the level of seriousness the young people have about this pandemic,” said Andries.
Clinical Pathologist, Claydon Barnes, told the publication that he is physically and mentally prepared, and he believes that together we can put an end to the virus. “I think that the President has made the right call. China did the same, I believe that’s how they managed to contain it,” said Barnes. He will also be working during the lockdown and is preparing for the hectic time their laboratory will be facing.
Fashion designer and entrepreneur, Zizipho Mgxothwa, will be working on her Spring/Summer Collection during this lockdown period. “I was never ready for this but I have been preparing now. I’ve been gathering all that I’ll need before the official lockdown,” said Mgxothwa. Even though the lockdown will have a big impact on her business, she believes that the President made the right call to solely protect South African citizens from the predicament. “I think that people should use this time to spend time with their loved ones. I wish people could stop with the negative comments and start spreading positivity because there is hope. Negativity can instil unnecessarily fear,” concluded Mgxothwa.
Thato Mohapi Kulehile, who is a professional hairdresser, said that the lockdown means less clients and that it will have a negative impact on her business. “Government offered small businesses aid but some of us can’t get as we are not SA citizens and I for one don’t think it’s fair since we are also contributing to the economy of SA and have created employment for SA citizens. So, they are going to suffer because I’m not South African and I feel for my three SA workers in my salon,” said Kulehile.
Bianka Viljoen, who is both chef and catering manager, believes that what is needed to be done has been done. “I don’t think we will be fully prepared for the consequences. We don’t know what the future will hold for the businesses and clients. As a business we will take it day by day,” said Viljoen. She has also urged members of the community to stay safe and take care of themselves as best they can. “Our livelihood will be affected, but we need to stay positive,” concluded Viljoen.
Pierce van Heerden