Khutsong Students affected by the COVID-19 Lockdown


Lerato Molete is a 15-year-old grade 9 learner from Badirile High School, in Ward 10 Khutsong (Gauteng). Her mother died when she was only a day old. Now she lives with her grandmother who looks after her. “The lockdown in response to the [coronavirus] pandemic has shed a light on issues affecting access to education”, she said, talking about the government’s mandate to close schools in attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“In school it will be difficult to put measures in place looking at the numbers of students at school.” According to Molete more than 1700 students share eight toilets. “There is a shortage of water at school to wash our hands. So to protect ourselves and others, and to help to prevent stigma; it’s a challenge”, Molete said. She expressed support for schools to close. “At school, social distancing measures would be troublesome for students”.

Molete said the regulations are affecting her even though schools are closed. Molete helps other students in her spare time with their schoolwork. Now with the lockdown, the 15-year-old has to put measures in place to help fellow learners at home and try to provide them with support through remote learning. “I try to practice self discipline and stay at home,” she added.

Frans Motshaba (26) is a WestCol student. (Westcol is a technical and vocational education and training college in the West Rand of Johannesburg) He lives with three siblings in Ward 9, Khutsong. They have been without parents since 2016. Motshaba felt that the COVID-19 lockdown limits access to information because libraries are hard to access since movement is restricted.

Speaking about how the lockdown has affected his home life; Motshaba said: “There are no food parcels [being delivered] now, like what used to happen during election time. Staying home without food affects my reading and concentration. It has really affected us socially and economically. Before the outbreak I was selling sweets and cookies at college for a living. Now, I get nothing from government despite my situation. What officials are saying on radio and TV about helping small businesses is a daydream.”

This article was written on 31 March 2020.

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