Lockdown exacerbates hardship, but also blooms creative ways to connect and survive

A South African boy waits with his dog to see a Veterinarian outside the Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa, 30 April 2020. The Mdzananda Animal Clinic is currently working under extremely difficult conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic. The clinic provides veterinary care to community pets continuing to operate with staff adhering to all the Covid-19 protocols. The staff are organised into a two team system working two weeks on two weeks off as a way to manage the concern of closure should a staff member contract the virus. In addition the clinic is also dealing with a Parvovirus outbreak within the community which has a low recovery rate. Animal abuse and neglect are also factors involved in many of the clinics patients with some of the poorest communities in Khayelitsha being home to the most vulnerable animals in the greater Cape Flats area. One positive observation noticed is the number of stray dogs at the clinic has reduced during the lockdown. This they attribute to pets being considered more valuable for mental health in the impoverished communities now during the pandemic. South Africa is on a total lockdown to try stem the spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 which causes the Covid-19 disease. EPA-EFE/NIC BOTHMA

Things changed overnight in South Africa on 15 March, and it won’t be the last time it does. Daily Maverick’s Daily Digest will provide the essential bits of information about Covid-19 in South Africa each day. Please do read on to understand these issues more deeply. 



The lockdown has exacerbated so much pain and need, but it has also been an inspiration for start-ups to take root or change the way they work. A recent survey found that small businesses affected by the lockdown are turning to digital technology to find innovative ways of adapting their businesses to survive. It also predicted that new start-ups will spring up to address new challenges such as non-contact deliveries and telemedicine. As Karabo Mafolo reports, the survey was small but the researchers from 22 on Sloane are sure to conduct a bigger one soon. 

Ansie van der Westhuizen from Nelson Mandela Bay has used WhatsApp to communicate directly with people in the city who need food parcels. Van der Westhuizen had been running a Facebook group “For the Love of Giving” where people in need can ask for assistance. As Estelle Ellis writes, “a sporadic need for food turned into a torrent of requests”. So far, Van der Westhuizen’s home and those of friends have put together 465 food parcels. 

In the Western Cape, the non-profit organisation Save our Schools has set up handwashing stations in places including Wallacedene, Bloekombos and Scottsdene. It provides communities with water tanks, liquid soap and information boards, which are then managed, monitored and sterilised by 14 residents. As Shani Reddy reports, the goal is to reach 110,000 residents. 

As lockdown Level 4 comes into effect, the Young Maverick Writers reflect on the eased lockdown which might not feel much easier and how they’ve been keeping sane these days. 

Meanwhile, the Strandfontein temporary shelter will start a “phased closure” on Friday 1 May and will be empty by 20 May. The closure was not because of pressure to do so from “any particular grouping”, said City of Cape Town’s Mayco Member for Community Services and Health, Zahid Badroodien. It is not clear yet where or how those who have been staying at the camp will be accommodated next. 

The latest proposed date for Grade 7 and Grade 12 pupils to return to school is 1 June, according to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. The date still needs to be approved by Cabinet and then gazetted. She clarified that school senior officials, management and staff will return to work to begin preparations on 4 May. 

Tertiary education campuses will remain closed under Level 4, but classes will resume online, according to Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande. He said those students who do not have the necessary equipment to take part in classes online will be provided with digital devices. DM/MC


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