Nonzwakazi Cekete
Journalist
3 minute read
5 Mar 2021
5:07 pm

The day our lives changed because of Covid-19

Nonzwakazi Cekete

It's been a year since the first case of Corona virus was first reported in South Africa and changed the lives of South Africans

Nurse Zoliswa Gidi-Dyosi in the Western Cape was the first person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in South Africa. Picture: GCIS

Today marks exactly a year since the first case of the coronavirus was reported in South Africa.

Now we sit with more than 1.5 million confirmed cases and at least 50,000 deaths.  When the first case was discovered, like the open book that he is, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize made an announcement that elicited all kinds of emotions.

The virus landed here via a 38-year-old man who had travelled to Italy with a group of 10, including his wife. From this day onwards our lives were changed and disrupted – we had to adapt to the new normal. At first, the country didn’t understand the magnitude of the problem but we only knew that we were dealing with an invisible energy.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a few measures like closing shops earlier than normal, before implementing a severe 21-day shutdown on 27 March 2020, which was further extended before various lockdown levels were introduced.

Life hasn’t been as colourful since then and we have had to adapt our lifestyles. We look back at how our lives have been impacted and changed.

When the coronavirus became international news, we were all wondering why the Chinese were wearing masks – until it happened to us. It is now law that you must a mask up in public as a measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

But as South Africans we know how to have fun and all sorts and kinds of humorous and quirky mask designs have mushroomed all over. But what takes the cake has to be the pricy mask by Rich Mnisi with diamantes, selling for R2,000. It had people talking about how it better “cure Corona” for that price.

ALSO READ: 365 days of Covid-19: Death, corruption and the future of the SA

Before the lockdown was implemented, we were social butterflies who ate out, partied up a storm, drank our minds out of this world and smoked like chimneys. But the lockdown put an end to all of that.

For the first time we were confined to our homes and could only leave our houses to buy groceries. We suddenly became chefs to occupy our time, cooking all sorts and kinds of recipes. The freedom we took for granted was taken away, so that you and I can still be alive today.

Because bottle stores were closed we were finally sober – well, not really because that is when the black market emerged. But for smokers, those who had forever threatened to quit, finally did so because buying unknown brands at crazy prices was unsustainable.

Until 5 March, sanitising was for germaphobes and those with a taste for the finer things in life. Now all animals are equal and we all have to sanitise as much as we can to prevent the spread of the virus.

A year later we can just be grateful that we are alive when millions around the world have succumbed to Covid-19. We can be thankful that finally there is a vaccine, which hopefully most South Africans will be inoculated with by the end of the year in order to achieve herd immunity.

Who’s knows come March 2022? Will our new normal be our old normal? I know you can’t wait.

More about the writer:

Nonzwakazi Cekete is a media professional and has more than 15 years experience as a journalist and editor. She has worked across multiple mainstream newspapers and magazines in South Africa

Nonzwakazi Cekete

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