Trying to brave eerie city in mom's absence is a hassle

The writer says she had to face the daunting task of standing on her own two feet, alone, as the 21-day lockdown.
The writer says she had to face the daunting task of standing on her own two feet, alone, as the 21-day lockdown.
Image: Pixabay

Growing up people used to refer to me as my mother's handbag. Not only am I the last born by a long shot in my household but I am also the only girl. So naturally I went everywhere with my mother.

To her society meetings, church, and visiting relatives and her friends. I was a quiet child that revelled in the loudness of others.

But now as a fully fledged adult that is trying to brave the hustle and bustle of the city, I've had to stand on my own two feet as I'm facing 21 days of being alone.

On the eve of the lockdown I quickly rushed to my local supermarket after work to see if I could get essentials.

Although the government had declared that we would be allowed to go buy groceries, I was still apprehensive because I knew I would be making that journey on my own.

I decided that I would rather wait to see how other women would brave being on the streets before I also headed out.

Unfortunately, I wasn't the only person who was thinking the same thing because the shops were packed. I bought the few things I could find and rushed home to wait for the countdown to begin.

The dramatic side of me that grew up reading adventurous books such as Harry Potter and watching horror flicks such as the Purge thought that as the clock struck 12 midnight there would be a blaring alarm to let us know it has begun.

Nothing of the sort happened of course but I did wake up to police sirens that I assumed meant they were patrolling the streets.

I kept myself locked inside my apartment for most of the weekend worried about what was happening outside in the world. Not only in my neighbourhood but also in my village of Mathibela in Zebediela, Limpopo. I was worried about how the police and soldiers would treat elderly people such as my mother.

I ended up braving the world again and decided to go finish off buying groceries on Sunday. The streets were barren with no people in sight until I reached the first supermarket. I was scared.

The lines were long and most people seemed to have a shopping partner. I moved on hoping to find another store, there were a few men loitering on the corner that were watching what passers-by were doing. I wondered why there wasn't any police or soldiers present.

I found an emptier store and finished buying my groceries and walked back home. Five minutes from my apartment block I finally saw the first police van.

One of the recurring themes when I talk to my female friends during this lockdown is the fear for our safety. Not only are we afraid of contracting Covid-19, we are worried that we could fall victim to crime or gender-based violence in the midst of the turmoil that is facing our country.

When we head out to go and buy essentials we also have to worry about men who may turn their frustrations out onto us.

Most of this worry also stemmed from witnessing a man beat up a woman who I assumed was his girlfriend or wife last week just before the lockdown commenced.

He punched her and she fell to the floor where he proceeded to kick her in full view of the passers by. The men around started to beat him up in retaliation but I told my e-hailing driver that this was only the beginning of women paying with their lives for the current turmoil.

 But being alone has also been good to me. I get to wake up later than usual and wear my favourite outfit of no pants and no bra even though I am still required to work during the lockdown period.

When it gets quiet I listen to one of my favourite artists Bongeziwe Mabandla and dance alone to my favourite Beyonce singles. Meanwhile, my cousins who ran to the villages before the shutdown are now being forced by their parents to do spring cleaning in Autumn!

Twenty one days is a long time to be alone. It will be a big test on my mental health but it will be manageable. However if Matamela extends the time, I may need a couple hours to hit the N1 to reach the warmth of home.

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