My name is Terefine MK Angula, a Namibian beneficiary of the Learn Africa program by the Mujeres por Africa Foundation.
COVID-19 has caused devastating ripple effects and significant disruptions worldwide, and Namibia is no exception. Our first COVID-19 case was confirmed on the 14th March 2020 and on the 05th April Namibia has 16 confirmed cases. When the president of the Republic of Namibia declared the virus outbreak a state of emergency, that’s when everything and everyone begun to feel the effects.
The government is working tirelessly to reduce the spread of the virus. Government efforts includes, discouraging large public gatherings, schools are closed for a period of 2 months, employees are encouraged to stay at home and rather work from home, most institutions and shops have been closed. At the moment two regions in the country are on complete lockdown to avoid the spread of the virus to the rest of the country. The government has also availed 8.1 billion Namibian dollars (about 450 million dollars) stimulus and relief package geared at addressing the negative effects arising from the first 21-day partial lockdown period.
As a staff in the academic industry, I can say that the virus has infused so much fear and panic in both academic staff and students. Given that face-to-face contact is no longer an option for us, we are forced to fully utilize and adjust to online learning. However, online learning has proven to have widespread challenges on students. Lack of access to technology or fast, reliable internet access are some of the major obstacles affecting students from disadvantaged families, as a result, hinders continued or inclusive learning which the university strives for.
The pandemic has negatively affected my career life. To be specific I was supposed to present a paper at a collaborative Symposium by the University of Namibia and Stellenbosch University (South Africa) which was scheduled for the 23-24 March 2020. I believe this symposium was an opportunity of a lifetime as it was a chance for me to network and learn from other intellectuals in my field of study. Unfortunately, due to the unfolding of COVID-19, the symposium was cancelled, this is therefore a missed opportunity.
Coronavirus has also affected my personal life. Despite the fact that I live alone in a town far from my family, in normal circumstances I would travel and visit them occasionally. Following the safety precaution of practicing social distancing, I am forced to stay at home and I can therefore not visit my family as I normally do. It is always soothing and comforting to spend difficult times such as this with our loved ones, but however due to the nature of the virus and in order to stay as safe as possible, I will not travel, we can only comfort each other telephonically.
I urge everyone out there to be responsible and follow the safety precautionary measures, by staying at home and practicing social distancing; as well as frequently practicing personal hygiene; avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth if your hands are not clean. If we all comply to these precautionary measures, then we can protect ourselves and help prevent spreading the virus to others.
TOGETHER WE CAN DEFEAT COVID–19