Students under lockdown are feeling the heavy effect of the Covid-19 virus. The 3rd wave is sweeping through the country at the moment, fear is at the all time high, unlike the previous 1st and 2nd waves which didn’t struck that much fear in many people.
Young people are waking up to the reality that even if the virus won’t make them sick or even kill them but it may kill someone they love. This has shifted the outlook and made it more real for everyone. Students are at home fearing to contract the virus and carrying it home; exposing their loved ones to it is the responsibility that has consequences which they are not ready to live with.
Speaking to some students and asking them how are they doing, these were the responses: “we not good at all” “very bad” “it’s hard” “I’m in Spain without the S”.
School and other sporting activities have been cancelled as Covid cases keep rising. Students don’t have anything to take their minds off-things “It’s horrible, I miss soccer big time, all we do is come back from school, watch TV do homework and sleep.” “Ah my bra, I’m not even considering going anywhere near the campus, Covid is real.” says a UJ student. These are young people who used to think that they are invincible when it comes to Covid-19.
South Africa is on level 3 lockdown restriction and may move to even more stricter restrictions, this will deliver more pain to young people who often attend other community empowerment programs on weekends; those programs have taken precautions and decided to pause for now, leaving young people to linger around on the streets.
The effects of lockdown are devastating in a country like South Africa. People living under stress and depression due to high level of unemployment, fear of the virus and so on, students’ ability to cope with the academic demands is negatively affected.
Keeping schools open may just be the most important thing to do after all, because churches, sporting clubs and other entertainment hubs have closed, schools may just be the only place where young people gather and have a little bit of fun in a safe and responsible way.
It is safe to say that part of the reason South African youth is drenched in alcohol is due to the high levels of the stresses, unemployment, depression, deaths and corrupt uninspiring leadership. The only way to cope is to get drunk and forget about everything!
“The picture may be doom and gloom, but my brother we are a strong generation, we will overcome this, I encourage my peers to keep hoping and never stop believing” says Itumeleng Manaka from Tembisa.
Such spirited response from young people to the current pandemic challenge can only mean one thing – human spirit will once again triumph like it did with the Apartheid regime!
Article by Wonder Ngcobo