Streaming issues? Report here
Clement Manyathela 1500 x 1500 2020 Clement Manyathela 1500 x 1500 2020
The Clement Manyathela Show
09:00 - 12:00

Up Next: The Midday Report with Mandy Wiener
See full line-up
The Clement Manyathela Show
09:00 - 12:00

OPINION: COVID-19 turned our lives upside down but apart, together we'll triumph

23 March 2021 5:58 PM

Over the past 12 months South Africans have undergone major behavioural changes in their homes, workplace and public spaces.

By Tlou Legodi

Ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on March 23 2020 that the country will go into lockdown for 21 days, nobody had an idea how things will pan out.

Ramaphosa made the announcement following a meeting held on Sunday with the National Coronavirus Command Council. “This is a decisive measure to save millions of South Africans from infection and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.”

ALSO READ: Fellow South Africans ... this is what happens before the president's addresses

Days prior South Africa had reported its first case of COVID-19 after it was confirmed by the National Institute for Communicable Disease. The patient was a 38-year-old male who travelled to Italy with his wife. He had consulted a private general practitioner on 3 March 2020 with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough.

The virus reportedly originated in Wuhan in China.

The 21-day lockdown started on midnight March 26 2020 and ended on 16 April 2020. The rest is history. The lockdown took various iterations over the next 12 months.

Life as we knew it was never the same. What is bigger than a cricket had entered its hole.

Social distancing, sanitising and masks are now household names. It’s a great pity indeed that these interventions that are meant to help save lives and livelihoods are not treated with the seriousness they deserve in some quarters, resulting in lockdown doing a yoyo dance with uncanny regularity.

During the initial nationwide lockdown, enacted in terms of the Disaster Management Act, all South Africans would have stayed at home. Under the lockdown, people would not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly controlled circumstances. These included the seeking of medical care, buying food, medicine and other supplies or the collection of social grants.

At the moment we are under modified Level 1. Several restrictions have been eased, such as the number of people who have returned to work, trading hours and gatherings.

Nobody knows what will happen next, we play a wait-and-see game.

Over the past 12 months South Africans have undergone major behavioural changes in their homes, workplaces, public spaces and general individual and group interactions. There was panic, as is to be expected.

We at Radio 702 were not spared either. What was talked about in murmurs had arrived. A new era had dawned and things were about to change.

People had to start working from home early that week, with others following suit in a staggered yet co-ordinated arrangement. Only those who had to be in the building were allowed to do so, under strict conditions in line with company and country guidelines.

We were (and are) all affected. Some colleagues did return as lockdown oscillated between levels, but others have not yet set foot back in the office or had brief stints, only to be forced to work from home yet again.

What used to be a routine office setting where there could be banter, hugging and sharing of equipment became a place where one had to be guarded, on the edge.

We were faced with a pandemic none of us have ever experienced in our lives. Scientists led the way and hope kept us going.

We were all affected but some colleagues have more personal experiences as a testimony to the COVID-19 impact.

The virus has turned things upside down. The close-knit digital team had to now work in silos, which had both advantages and disadvantages.

We could work from the convenience of our own homes but that called for one to have discipline in the kitchen, paying courtesy visits to the fridge and food warmers to keep hunger at bay, while also working at lightning speed.

Where one could literally walk to a colleague and get a matter sorted, we now must have the patience of an ant as networks could misbehave without notice, irritating colleagues no end.

Data has become the currency we use to communicate, conduct meetings and create content.

Not every bullet that leaves the gun reaches the target, so we will now and then meet challenges. There are times when networks get in the way of a productive day.

We soldier on.

Some days are better than others and the yeoman work done by colleagues who have to be in the offices and studios have made a huge difference.

Elsewhere things have improved but, as we await the government to escalate vaccination, we must stick with interventions meant to save lives and livelihoods. All lizards lie on their bellies so you never know which one has a bellyache; that is why we must keep on wearing masks, washing our hands, sanitising and keeping the requisite social distancing.

A year does not sit where the others sat, it brings its own stool. Lets's hope the next twelve months bring hope and meaningful development.

As things stand, the future calls upon us to unleash and unlock our collective and individual resolve.

Cheers to the future.

*Tlou Legodi is Radio 702 Digital Content Editor

23 March 2021 5:58 PM

More from Celebrating a year of being apart, together

[WATCH] A look at government communications a year into lockdown

26 March 2021 12:06 PM

Clement Manyathela and fellow journalists look at government communications or the lack off during the lockdown.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

1 year of lockdown: Private sector, govt must repair economic scarring together

25 March 2021 7:16 PM

Economist Isaah Mhlanga is one of the voices on a special edition of The Money Show marking one year of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Remembering treating Gauteng's first COVID-19 patient

24 March 2021 5:54 PM

Charlotte Maxeke Hospital staff talk about the first COVID-19 patient in Gauteng.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

The scientist at the heart of fight against new COVID-19 variant

24 March 2021 5:34 PM

University of KwaZulu-Natal Nelson Mandela School of Medicine student Sandile Cele says South Africa has world-class laboratories.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

The fear we had was of the unknown - COVID-19 survivor

24 March 2021 5:16 PM

Meghan Smith, one of the first 50 people to test positive for the virus, talks about her family's journey with COVID-19.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Shining a spotlight on police brutality during lockdown

24 March 2021 2:31 PM

SAPS spokesperson Vish Naidoo says they would have preferred to see a better approach with fewer allegations of infringements.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

SANDF's use of force contributed to Collins Khosa death - Brother-in-law

24 March 2021 1:13 PM

Brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango relays how the family is coping since the Khosa's death last year.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

One year into lockdown: Impact of COVID-19 lockdown on young mothers

24 March 2021 9:25 AM

Eyewitness News reporter Mia Lindeque reflects on how mothers were forced to give their babies up for adoption during lockdown.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Homeschooling challenges parents faced one year into lockdown

23 March 2021 4:43 PM

Registered educational psychologist and life coach Dr Tshepiso Matentjie the change in learning environment affected the family.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

[WATCH] Realities of a year of working from home

23 March 2021 2:51 PM

Futurist and partner at TomorrowToday Graeme Codrington talks about the dynamics of working from home during the lockdown.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward