#PlayAfricaStories #PlayAfricaCOVID19Stories

I live in Soweto. I am a former visitor services assistant and play and learning facilitator at Play Africa.

We closed in mid-March. I felt like my position became obsolete in an instant. I decided to focus on what I would do next, since my internship at Play Africa, which was possible through the FirstRand Ltd “First Job” initiative, was coming to an end at the end of March.

The increasing rate of infection and the number of people dying worldwide is quite scary. I’ve basically been indoors since the lockdown announcement. I have a 3-year old son that I need to take care of and keep safe. He’s too young to understand what is going on. He plays indoors and I help him with activities we were given at his crèche. He also plays with his toys and we do paper crafts. We also watch cartoons together.

Both children and adults my neighbourhood are playing as usual, mostly boys playing soccer or marbles out in the streets. When they see the police they run back into their yards. I thought this behaviour would have changed after we heard of a recent incident of a young man from my area, 2 streets from my home. We heard he was beaten by the army and succumbed to his internal injuries last week.

This lockdown is still being treated like a game of hide and seek. It is worrying. It is like a joke as people talk candidly about how they dodged the police. They laugh about it. You’d think they were relating a crime comedy they watched on television. It is sad indeed. I don’t even know how safe it is at this point to be looking at moving up the safety levels because I don’t feel safe at all.

I am so scared and worried about the schools opening as the restrictions are lifted. I don’t feel safe taking my son back to school because not everyone has been or will be tested. I think I would ideally prefer to take him back in 2021, but even then, who knows? I also want to go back and study now that I have completed my internship. I’m also going to continue doing nails for my passive income.

This pandemic can and will pass if we listen to and follow the rules set out by our government. In the meantime, let’s stay safe in our homes.

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Rand Merchant Bank

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