The Repercussions of Lockdown in Clayville Community

By Emeldah Khumalo

2 April 2020

The COVID-19 coronavirus has played a huge and painful role in the lives of people in the world. The virus has claimed a lot of lives since it started. In the long term, even if some may not die, their lives are no longer the same. The cycle and way of living for all of us has changed.

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a National Lockdown of the country which started on the 26 March 2020, but to the working class in informal settlements, rural areas and townships it is practically their lives being put on lockdown. They are unable to do what they usually do to earn a living. People who have informal jobs are very much affected by this crisis. Hawkers who are breadwinners in their families are being forced to stay at home. They are now unable to work and earn money for their families. The lockdown has stopped their flow of livelihoods. Spaza shops in townships are closed and the ones that are open have prices that have virally gone up, and malls and shopping centres are no longer operating like before. It is a pity that we as the working class are suffering and what does the government do about this? Nothing as always.
The streets of Clayville in Tembisa (the East rand of Gauteng) are quiet. People are not going to work and unfortunately some of them have already lost their jobs due to this virus. Some don’t know that when this virus has passed they will be left with no jobs. And of course the lockdown does not only hit finances, it hits relationships within households too. Won’t these 21 days of trying to contain the coronavirus crisis in this way cause more crisis like deaths within families?

Many could not afford to buy essentials before the lockdown, because it is only now or a few days after the lockdown that they got paid. Some accessed money from loansharks so they could go to shopping centres to buy what they need. Lots of shopping happened without masks, sanitisers and no social distancing so their lives are in danger.

It has only been seven days in the lockdown but for those who survive on selling in the streets and doing all sorts of other informal jobs, it surely feels like it has been a year and more. The black community has been through a lot and I feel like this is too much but what more can we do but try to be strong and survive through it all.

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