The biggest battle we face apart from COVID-19 is poverty

By Rejoyce Legodi

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continues to change the lifestyles of people and communities around the world. Everyday rapid outbreaks have left individuals and organisations relying on information and actions that can be taken to stay safe and healthy in completely new and uncertain circumstances.

The outbreak of the coronavirus became news to most of my community members, but fun was made out of the pandemic and life continued, reality set in when social media platforms informed them about how serious the pandemic is and precautionary measures were taken. Earlier, I decided to roam the streets of Mmotong/ Ga-Mokgokong in Limpopo and found elders, youth and children informing one another around the pandemic, now it all seems different, a true indication that quarantine is taken seriously – empty sports grounds, closed schools and closed spaza shops.

The water shortage                             

Water plays a big role in the lives of my community, every day we go and fetch water and due to the outbreak of the virus, most communities were never prepared or ever ready for spending more and more money on such services with the constant washing of hands and consuming warmer liquids. For many households, getting water continues to stretch budgets and create stress – R20 used to cover more than a week supply of water (20-25 litre of bucket cost over R20) but with the growing anxiety and municipal trucks unable to deliver water daily, the struggle seems to continue. Most families are fortunate because they were able to save from the last rain and to others they will have to use the little they have just to pull through the next few days, hoping that the municipal truck will deliver soon enough. Since our government introduced the lockdown, my community won’t participate actively in it since the need for water is in high demand.  As a community, we are battling with how to care for ourselves and each other. Our municipality has been made aware of the challenge and we are hopeful water will be delivered to us soon.

Livelihoods are constantly changing and informal businesses continue to suffer

I spoke to some of my community members, one of them is a carwash and spaza shop owner,Magagula, he does not sell much but he was able to provide for himself and his family. He had to close down the spaza shop due to COVID-19, this was before the Limpopo Chamber of Commerce and Industry made a call for spaza shop owners to obtain permits so they could continue to operate. Before schools closed down he was providing us with Dikota (Bunny chows) and airtime and even car wash services but business started running at a loss. The downturn of his business has been an unexpected event for him. Magagula is taking the situation one day at a time, he believes once the schools start operating things will go back to normal and his business will take off again.

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