As the dreaded Day One of the Covid-19 lockdown dawned, people in parts of Nelson Mandela Bay seemed to carry on with life and running errands, oblivious to why the country was under lockdown.
While many stayed at home leaving the city centre and affluent suburbs resembling ghost towns – on the other side of town, life continued apace with people unconvinced that the coronavirus was a real threat.
At Spar, Springbok, Boxer, and Shoprite outlets, the elderly, pregnant and disabled were forced to wait in long lines, with no queue-cutting privileges observed for the frail.
“We will wait for our turn because we have no other choice,” said a 78-year-old woman who lives in KwaZakhele. She asked not to be named.
“Sikulento singayaziyo, thina sifuna nje ukuba nokutya ezindlini zethu singafi silambile [We are caught up in this thing that we do not understand, we just want to be able to buy food so that we don’t die hungry],” she added.
She said she had no knowledge of the Covid-19 virus.
“Ayingomgwebo na lento? [Is this thing not Judgement Day?],” she asked.
While information has gone viral on the internet and social networks, it seems ordinary people have no understanding or care for the outbreak.
Groups of children could be seen in Red Location, New Brighton. They said they knew about the virus but would not stop going out to play.
“We were told Aids kills, but that didn’t stop people from having unprotected sex,” they added.
“Next time, we’ll consider the gloves and masks – just not today. Please don’t take a video, we don’t want to trend,” they said, as they laughed when asked why they were not taking precautionary measures to protect themselves.
An Algoa Park resident could be seen walking his dog, despite Police Minister Bheki Cele saying this would be prohibited during the 21 days.