Image
Image
Image
Image

Studying during Lockdown

© J. Francois Barnard – April 13, 2020

In South Africa, the lockdown started midnight, Friday, March 27, 2020. I wrote two exams on Thursday and one on Friday. For me, that was the end of term 3, and I could take a little more than a week off from my studies.

But not from work. Not that we can do much. So, it has been a time of rest.

Thursday, April 9, 2020, Term 4 started. But with that came the announcement that the 21-day lockdown has now been extended for another two weeks until the end of April. This is good news for a student who takes three courses per term! I can be grateful in that respect.

But there is that other problem nagging in the back of my mind: Will we get full salaries at the end of the month? Will I be able to save enough to get $300 together for my exam fees? Will the South African Rand devalue further against the US Dollar? The lockdown came at the same time as Moody's downgrade of South Africa to junk status. All bad news.

study014But there is good news too.

Instead of spending R4700/month on fuel, so far, I have only bought R200 of fuel. Pollution is down. The murder rate is down. The Easter weekend's death toll on the road is near zero. Very little crime has been committed during this lockdown. So far, at least. But will it last?

South Africa's poor people are getting hungry. Even in the middle-class suburbs. When we buy food, we buy extra to give to hungry people. They tie a yellow ribbon on their gates, and people can leave food for them at the gate. We are in this together. We have to see to it that we get out of it together.

We live in uncertain times. We do not know how this will affect us from here onwards. But I have one thing to look forward to! When the lockdown is over, I can meet my grandson, who was born on March 25.