Samukelisiwe Dube, lives in Johannesburg and is studying French at the University of Pretoria. She has been awarded a Learn Africa scholarship and studied at the University of La Rioja.
Following the confirmation of cases of contagion, which have resulted in more than 75 deaths, we are currently in a period of containment. All shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs are closed. Only supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitals and some public services are still open to the public.
The government has deployed military and police forces to control the movement of citizens during the confinement. The number of people who can enter supermarkets at a time is also controlled. All types of meetings and events have been banned, except for funerals. All international and domestic flights have also been banned, and only flights intended to repatriate South Africans living abroad and foreigners living here so that they can return home are allowed.
I believe that the government has responded with effective measures to minimize and contain the spread, while providing social assistance to those most vulnerable and affected by this pandemic.
Uncertainty is causing great distress because we cannot continue to live normally with these restrictions. It is stressful for me because I cannot attend my classes normally. However, in most educational institutions, learning is now taking place at a distance, online. This presents difficulties because not all schools can afford to continue computer-based courses, nor do students have the appropriate equipment, such as computers and wifi access, to effectively complete their studies online for the rest of the school year.
Fortunately, I am still studying, but online. Although I have access to a computer and wifi, I find it difficult to study at home, because the home is not the most conducive environment for learning, especially with the family constantly present and especially because I also have to do household chores.
This pandemic affects women in particular because of the increased domestic burden. Furthermore, some women unfortunately find themselves in homes where there is domestic violence, which aggravates their situation: locked under the same roof with the aggressor and not free to leave.
Although we are only at the beginning of the pandemic, it has already begun to affect the country economically. Even before the pandemic, we had high unemployment. Now we have added the unemployed caused by the pandemic.
I think it is going to get worse before it starts to get better, and it will certainly take some time for the country’s economy to recover, but it will pass and we will get through it.
Translated by Paola Fourcaud