Wednesday night 22:49pm
Still Wednesday 15th April 2020
Day 20 of Lockdown South Africa
It’s been a long day.
Morning: Dropped the bags of sandwiches and some other stuff at Spar. Took one dog with me in old bakkie. Shame, she thought she was going for a walk, so I opened the back window and she stuck her head out and I hoped to hell she’d be just happy with that bit of different view from her window. Get it? View from her Window. And while I’m driving back home and thinking about the 30% cut that my husband’s business is considering and the cut in the fence at Groot Constantia farm fence which is where they apparently get through and then trek back to Hout Bay, and the fact that it’s now ME bringing him the tea and that the 30% cut affects us all clearly, ( meaning he can also flipping have one rusk and not two with his tea ) , I suddenly thought about this a little more clearly. And then I thought about Trevor Noah. See a connection here? No?
Here’s what I thought:
So, the privileged in South Africa, are in lockdown at home. They’re all stuck at home trying to carry on their normal jobs, to carry the ailing economy. The businessmen. And women. On Zoom or whatever. (Actually, while I’m typing this my husband sends me a pic on WhatApp of himself upstairs in his study while on a Zoom meeting. He apparently got a little bored and picked up his selfie stick that he’d bought as present for the kids once they were younger. They hated it.) And so, now that they’re at home and have all their kids around them and get interrupted every now and then to help with something that they really can’t help them with because it’s a subject they don’t understand or they’re just getting to grips with all the remoteness of life themselves and ‘Can you help me print this, Mum?’ I hear (What? Print? No, I can’t bloody print it ‘ cos you won’t have to hand it in anywhere – you don’t go to proper school, remember? and my printer’s running dry from dad and you all and I won’t be able to replace my (very small and clearly home- use printer) cartridge ‘cos the shops are closed FFS! No. I don’t swear at my children. That was for writing effect.)
So, they’re at home all these privileged South Africans:
Doing their jobs (to keep the economy going, because let’s face it, the government isn’t going to be helping THEM when it all goes seriously pear- shaped) , teaching their kids, ordering their pet food online- will you all please stop telling me where you buy your damn dog food! People are dying in the townships and you’re telling me where you buy your dog food! Dogs don’t get COVID FFS and the dog food was cheaper at Pick N Pay anyway … but thanks anyway! Go and make sandwiches rather!) …where was I….
Oh, ja, cleaning their own houses, trying to figure out how to work the washing machine, iron, and cut the grass, and the thing is this people:
All these domestic workers -who are really the backbone of the economy since in reality, they look after other people’s homes and children in order for them to be part of business South Africa- they are still being paid to stay home. Most of them, I hope are still being paid. And for most of them, since they are domestic workers in homes they’re currently not in, they are essentially not doing any other job as such. Well other than looking after their own children (and trying to help them with remote schoolwork without WIFI – how the hell do they do that?? I have NO idea … But they’re not doing another ‘job’ now in reality?
Can we not work out a plan for this currently ‘unutilised’ labour force to contribute to the ailing economy?
That’s my first thought.
But the other is this:
The ‘privileged’ ones who are now, 1. working at home and 2, taking over the jobs of their ‘at home’ domestic workers are also 3. trying to assist another labour force who are entirely out of work (not being domestic workers but casual /part time labourers) by supplying extra funds and homemade sandwiches through all kinds of Community Action Initiatives etc.
This is a crazy scenario if you consider it. And it’s going to get crazier. Personally, I’m feeling a little crazy. Do you sense it? I mean when Covid-19 starts creeping into Khayelitsha from Constantia with all those people making sandwiches, Oooh dan gaan die poppe dans! Are we ready for this South Africa? My medical friends? Are we ready for this? I don’t think so.
So, here’s the Trevor Noah connection. Trevor can you please come home and help your people! What the HELL ARE YOU DOING IN NEW YORK? Can you come back or send some cash over here please? Are you doing that huh? Roger Federer? You played a great game of tennis (I love you, you’re my complete hero) and gave money to Switzerland I know, I get that, but AFRICA needs MONEY and HELP! Bill Gates? Can you hear me?? Are you out there? Your tennis wasn’t that hot but we all paid to watch you play and I think you’re a bloody hero but I’m kind of getting tired of cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing , writing and trying to earn a decent living as an artist in Africa (where there’s no bail out for artists like happens in Germany) and making sandwiches when I KNOW that SOUTH AFRICA is going to need more HELP!
HULLO!! ARE YOU OUT THERE??
Please help if you get the chance.
There’s only SO MUCH a privileged woman in Constantia can do okay?
#I’menough. Yeah, right! (Oh hang on a sec, my phone pinging next to me- oh, another FB group invite just in for me. Stronger Together- Small Businesses of South Africa …can you help…are you kidding me?)
I have a headache. Alan Winde? You want a double shot of Myprodol my friend?
Cyril, I pray for you.
It’s late. I need to get more sleep.
PS Maybe time for a blog break. Left iron on by mistake at some point in the middle of day. For about 3 hours I think.