Covid-19 has locked down dreams of many and ruined a 'perfect' year

Kwanele Ndlovu Singles Lane
Most businesses will not be able to afford new talent when the economy reopens after an extended lockdown. /Konstantin Postumitenko
Most businesses will not be able to afford new talent when the economy reopens after an extended lockdown. /Konstantin Postumitenko

Eleven weeks of the national lockdown has been an emotional rollercoaster for many.

I for one have found myself googling "how to get married?" during moments of fearing contracting coronavirus, dying and my partner being excluded from handling my burial because of all these restrictions and regulations and my "single" status literally leaving my parents and siblings responsible for most of my affairs because I have not been savvy enough to write a will.

A few friends of mine have been extremely depressed, some anxious, and others joined the band of insomniacs and will send a "hey" text at 3am, trying to solicit some company and the comfort of knowing they are not struggling alone with the new normal.

I have since been observing my best friend who lives with us here. She had moved in with the hope of finding employment after completing her degree last year. Like for many others, 2020 was a hopeful year, and the anticipation of her graduation day made the few years of hard work at university worthwhile.

We shopped for "interview outfits", saying it was being proactive and courting fate, and she spent the first two months of the year filling out applications to every vacancy that seemed feasible. Her resumé was sent to friends, and she would pester folk to remember her if something came up at their work, and call others to enquire about work, even volunteering to assist a friend just to gain experience.

Then there were the bogus Jozi fraudsters who prey on the desperate, offering her call centre work interviews at a price for some or the other admin fee.

Her first good fortune came when she was interviewed during the first phase of the lockdown. We were all hopeful, and her spirits were visibly lifted. Then, as days went by, and the extension of the lockdown compelling the prospective employer to freeze all processes and wait for restoration of the "normal'' before hiring - she started crumbling.

Being unemployed has been torture for her. Far worse than my constant moping about elongated work hours at home and the erratic internet connection.

For her, 11 weeks of lockdown has meant that employers are not recruiting. Most businesses will not be able to afford new talent when the economy reopens.

She only had two months to search for employment, and January was hardly an active month for recruiters. This month, even the government vacancy circulars are empty for most departments.

The wait for level 1 of the lockdown has stolen her smile and sent her emotions on a rampage. There are days when I wonder if she will come out of her room, or want to speak, or actually needs to speak.

She seems so helpless but remains positive. Maybe next month? Maybe in August everything will be back to normal? Maybe register a company or just do a post-grad qualification? Maybe not!

Worst of all, that monumental photograph holding a scroll while wearing a mortarboard and hood will not be hanging on the walls of her home. While education is the key to a better life, Covid-19 for her has been a lockdown in every sense of the word.

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