6 Days of Lockdown – My journey as a young Black South African woman
By: Becky Madikane
When President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would be going into lockdown for 21 days from midnight on Thursday, 26 March, I was filled with pride at his rapid response to contain the spread of COVID-19 in our country but also anxious.
This was followed by the sudden realization that I may be more prepared to cope with this lockdown than the average South African. I realised that all of my education, primary, high school and university, trained me to be digitally savvy and prepared me for the moment when my employer asked me to work from home.
Thankfully for me, this has made the transition to work-from-home an easy pill to swallow. I am privileged enough to be one young black woman who has access to internet, a laptop and all the digital resources I need to work without interruption.
Where it has been particularly difficult is keeping my morale up. As a young person, I have a long future ahead of me and this will affect that. Will the economy recover? Will my loved ones survive? Will my career survive this so that I can start a family?
I feel helpless about the potential impact this virus could have on my life. I have lost freedom of movement, but in comparison to saving my own life and those I come into contact with, this is a small concern.
I have lost my footing in establish a stable financial position where I could become independent, but in comparison to the thousands of people who may lose their jobs, this is also a small concern.
I have lost my trust in economic systems that are supposed to help me, but the way in which each and all industries have rallied to protect their own staff as essential workers has reminded me that this is a small concern.
Being at home with my own thoughts, has reminded me that I am one of the youth with the kind of small concerns that freedom fighters before me have fought for.
I can worry about things that will easily be changed with time and effort. I was born into a country that offers me opportunity, no matter what. While I am anxious about all these things, the COVID-19 crisis give me a fresh start.
To do all the things that my forefathers could only dream of, should the lockdown and flattening of the curve work do what it is intended for. This calms me down enough to cope with all my anxieties and to put my trust in a South Africa that has made all the odds much more favourable for a young black South African woman like me.
As a young person, I also have nothing to compare this particular global crisis to, in order to strengthen myself mentally and emotionally, that things will indeed get better. My mother often talks to me about exactly where she was when 9/11 happened in her young journalist days, and I look at her in awe.