DIFFERENCE BEFORE CORONA AND NOW 

Here we are going to tell you something about the biggest differences between the period before Corona and now (May/June 2020). These stories are in general, for more personal stories, you can check it here! We have divided the differences in categories. These categories are the daily life, the gangs, the people, education and the economy.

Measures affecting daily life

To explain a little bit more about the situation in South Africa now.The lockdown system in South Africa works on a 5 level alert lockdown. The highest level of emergency is 5, where you must stay home. This was the case in the whole country at the beginning. Which they had in the beginning of the crisis. In some parts of the country they are slowly easing the rules of the lockdown. In some parts they are already on level 3, where children can go back to school again.

South Africans do also observe a curfew which prohibits them from leaving their houses between 22:00 and 05:00. Only those who are at work as essential service workers or must deal with an emergency can leave their homes [1, 5].

Gangs

In South Africa you have a lot of gangs. These gangs earn most of their money by drug trafficking. These gangs are now working together to provide the people from food. Normally when a gang is visiting the village of another gang, the gangs would shoot on each other. Which is leading to the streets being very quiet and calm. Children can now play on the streets again, which is a very positive thing!

In some villages the people don't receive help from the government. They think that this is because the colour of their skin. In these villages the gangs are helping the people. Some people are scared that these gangs want something in return after this lockdown is over [2].

The people

The South Africa lockdown is one of the strictest in the world. People are not allowed to cross the street if they do not have a vital profession. For the richer citizens this is more an annoyance rather than a measure that has big impact on their living standards. Those living in the suburbs are most likely comparable with the situation in western countries such as the Netherlands and Germany.

While for poorer citizens, e.g. those living in townships, the measures of staying at home can have catastrophic consequences. People who must live from day to day in order to make a living and feed themselves and their families suddenly depend on the acting and supplying of the government, aid organizations or perhaps food banks. In an article from the BBC was described that two out of three people (living in Africa) would run out of water and food if they have to stay at home for more than 14 days. Also, more than half of the people would run out of money [3].

Gap between the rich and the poor

This situation is making the differences between the wealth and the poorer only bigger. Which is terrible, because in situations like this people should support each other. No matter how you look like. Some villages don't even receive help from the government, because they are not 'black'. That is why the gangs are helping these villages [2].

Though there is a big difference between rich and poor with many of the poor people not able to work and not getting an income as a result of the crisis. In some instances, it is very bad indeed, but it also has been bad for a very long time. The people have built the resources to survive without necessarily going into the criminal circuit, especially for smaller communities. While there is an impact to their lack of income, they have ways of getting income from other sources, because they have been in that struggle for so long. That means the impact is not as big as sometimes suggested [1].

Education

The biggest problem has also to do with the big gap between the rich and the poor people in South Africa. For the rich people, the situation is almost the same as in the Netherlands or Germany. Children have laptops to do their schoolwork from home. In the poorer areas this is not possible. But the government still expects all children to be at the same level when the school starts again [1, 4].

The economy

It is expected that the South African economy will take a big hit from the crisis and might even head towards a recession. The international monetary fund (IMF) from the UN, the industrial development corporation of South Africa (IDC), and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) have estimated a decline of the GDP by 6%.

A measure that really emerges from the lockdown measures in South Africa is the ban on alcohol and cigarettes. The sale of these goods is prohibited by the government who argue that it helps to minimize the hospital admissions. The police patrols and controls everyone to ensure no one is carrying these forbidden goods day and night. It is seen as a controversial part of the lockdown due to the big consequences it has on the community and factories. While the measure was imposed with logical reasons. Poorer people cannot get the supplies they need so they commit small crimes also establishing a network of underground trading of alcohol and cigarettes [6]


Sources

[1] Personal interview, interviewed on 26 May 2020, retrieved on 1 June 2020.

[2] Vermeulen, B. (2020, May 20). Cape Town, Gang Town, Lockdown. Retrieved May 22, 2020, from https://www.npostart.nl/cape-town-gang-town-lockdown/20-05-2020/VPWON_1320221

[3] Most Africans 'will run out of food in lockdown'. (2020, May 6). Retrieved 3 June 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-52557464

[4] McDonald, Z. (2020, 21 May). COVID-19 exposes the underbelly of South Africa's education system. Consulted on 4 juni 2020, from https://theconversation.com/covid-19-exposes-the-underbelly-of-south-africas-education-system-138563

 [5] Writer, S. (2020, 6 May). 7 new lockdown rules for South Africa - including changes for cars, the curfew and workers. Consulted 4 June 2020, from https://businesstech.co.za/news/government/395531/7-new-lockdown-rules-for-south-africa-including-changes-for-cars-the-curfew-and-workers/

[6] BBC News. (2020a). Coronavirus: South Africa's alcohol and cigarette lockdown [Video File]. Consulted on May 21, from https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-52684781/coronavirus-south-africa-s-alcohol-and-cigarette-lockdown