Lockdown Stories

Young People’s Experience During the Pandemic

Over the last few weeks we’ve been inundated with Covid-19 news, advice and memes. What we’ve heard relatively little about is how people are really coping, particularly young people. In light of this, we reached out to a few young people in our Child and Youth Development Programme at Uthando Centre. In addition to asking them to provide an inspirational quote that gets them through this time, we asked them to give us the true lowdown on the lockdown:

The lockdown has its advantages and disadvantages. It has helped me bond with my mom, because my mom and I get home really late and we are usually exhausted and don’t have time to spend together. However, the lockdown comes with financial challenges because my mom is self-employed and she is kind of lives hand-to-mouth, so it will be hard after the lockdown. But I know that God will be with us. Sibusiso Busie Nkomo, grade 9

Days at home gives us time to relax and recover from school; it’s a time to bond as a family and catch up on each other’s lives. It also gives families time to resolve issues and problems. Being a President at the Johannesburg Housing Company Youth Executive (JHCYE), and with the help of the executive team, I had to make sure all my peers stayed at home. I am not the type of person to stay at home to be honest, even though my days at home have turned out to be fun. Still, I feel like I am missing out on a lot of school time, the running club at the centre and workshops at JHCYE. What I fear the most is that returning to school after the lockdown we will be swamped with lessons and work. We are grateful for the online lessons and the commitment from our educators to keep us in check during this period. Sphesihle Mbele Grade, grade 10

I live in Hillbrow, a place that doesn’t really listen to rules. There hasn’t been a lockdown because people just go outside to chill. Then we ask ourselves why it’s getting worse. I haven’t been doing school work because my school has not sent us or told us anything and there are some things I need help with. For some, this lockdown is a joke. For us, it’s a matter life or death. Fear still lives in us as we go through this pandemic period. For it seems like no one adheres to the rules in my community. Calvin Kamphinda, Grade 10

This Coronavirus pandemic got me by surprise, I knew it was going to have a huge negative impact on my academics as I thought that the grade 12s would be going to school. It’s been hard for me to cope as I am not used to self-study or online learning, I had to try and adapt to the change, which at times is difficult. I have so much pressure because of the workloads given to me by subject teachers. At home, we were able to make to the 6th day with food and by luck I got a call from one of the facilitators telling me to organise young women from the Young Urban Women Group to come and get food parcels from the centre, which I am very thankful for. The burden of worrying about food supplies was lifted off my mind. I can now fully focus on my studies. Noxolo Khupe Jele, Grade 12

Ever since the pandemic started spreading like a wild fire, followed by the lockdown, I’ve had the chance to work on something new, to practice or even finish books. The lockdown is also giving me the opportunity to spend more time with my family, to laugh and have the best memories one could ask for. It’s giving me plenty time to understand myself more, reflect on what I did, what I am doing and what I wish to do. Marvellous Sibanda, Grade 10 student.

Since the lockdown was announced, all that filled my head was the negativity; the sad reality that all my plans, opportunities and projects that would have to be cancelled. But who said reality cannot be altered? When everyone sees trash in the lockdown, I see a treasure of opportunities to “give back”. During this pandemic, life is my privilege, and giving back is the only positivity I can offer my community. I am conscious and aware of the rising pandemic but I do not think my whole community is. I have found my opportunity to give back and I will not let it go. Karabelo Moima