COVID-19: Lockdown in Sebokeng

By Thami Majiki

2 April 2020

Sebokeng (in the Vaal, in Gauteng) is among many other townships in South Africa affected by the COVID-19 Lockdown. The municipality itself has many administrative issues: it owes ESKOM, and lacks resources like vehicles and the police force. So some people have been walking around hoping to bump into soldiers or a convoy. Car traffic has decreased but people are still moving around. Others cannot smoke in their yard (especially the youth), and so they go around looking for spots like corners and shops and usually in groups. They have not seen a police vehicle since the lockdown started. Many other people lived hand-to-mouth before the lockdown, and still continue to do so, despite the government giving some people food packs. Even NGOs like Harambee have stepped in to provide some support for those in need during these tough financial times.

During this period, the unemployed, elderly and young residents of Sebokeng have not been properly informed about coronavirus, even though it’s been three months since the outbreak started in China. People still have misconceptions about being immune and this shows how unprepared we still are. The Community Healthcare Workers do what they can but cannot cover this whole place. There’s not enough posters on the walls about the virus in Sebokeng.

Some people understand the rules and regulations of the Lockdown but the problem is that information about the coronavirus is missing. Social distancing has not been enforceable in queues, taxis, and shops but others say it’s only been seven days, and that people will adapt and get used to this new kind of living. I think the people need information. We need more education around COVID-19.

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