Covid Traps — Lionesses of Africa

by Brigette Mashile 

This week I read another meme which reminded me that it has been close to 3 years of Covid reality! I mean, I know but why are we counting? Who felt the need to remind us? This year, I no longer have a fear of Covid because of the amount of things, people and realities I have lost from it. It’s a ‘whatever happens’ kind of relationship now. Covid must Covid, and I will Brigette every day. I am so nonchalant about it because of the amount of times it has tried to trap me, for example:

The first lockdown:

When that day came, I took it lightly. I believed that this was a passing thing and we would all be back to our lives quickly. I had just ‘survived’ being a new mom for 6 months, and needed a break from God. Keep in mind that in my line of work, any type of rest is equal to NO WORK for that period of time. Apart from sitting and watching my daughter grow, I was now financially strained. I needed to work, I was pumped up, plans in motion. But Covid cancelled all of that.  

By beginning of May I realized my plans were kapoot! I was definitely hurt, because everyone and everything was simply stuck. This continued as we went up and down the levels of lockdown to accommodate the toll that Covid was taking on the country. In August, we were given the go ahead to operate with permits. But the demand for my work needed the rest of the country to be out and about. Weddings for example, couldn’t happen really. So we waited by creating mini bulk productions and a few Covid masks here and there. But we lived.

Second threat:

I cannot even remember if it was a lockdown or what…but after December 2020, it felt like we were attacked again. Forgive me, this period has been so traumatic, I have forgotten the details, and I really do not want to remember them. Maybe on a day when I am narrating my autobiography, I shall attempt to recall details. The numbers after December were rising again, as expected, and the leaders got cautious again. So, here we are again, in the process of attempting to rebuild and the STOP sign is put up again.  At the same time we are loosing people, cars, houses, lifestyles, etc.  My mental health was just numb. It was a get from today to tomorrow session. The worst thing about uncertain times is you are not sure if you should make plans for tomorrow or just take it a day at a time. I think we were teaching classes during this time, and the threat of being locked down further meant we would have to stop that. 

Third trap:

Today. We have been working for at least a year with little or minimal interruptions. We have weddings, graduations, parties, etc., so the demand is there. It is not the demand from prior to Covid times, but it is better than in the past two and a half years. We are under a lot of pressure because people are also under a lot of pressure to have their weddings, parties, etc. done before we are locked down again.  People know that they may be unable to do these things for another year at least, or even longer God forbid.

This threat is due to what we now call Omicron. I really have no idea who comes up with these names, they could’ve just called all these illnesses flu2, flu3…it could’ve calmed many of us. Omicron.  (B.1.1.529): SARS-CoV-2. Who comes up with these things… this entire sequence just sounds like a horror movie! Either way, it is here. And apparently it is a bit more lethal than the variant we have been dealing with since 2019. Rumours of a lockdown are doing the rounds, and that is a threat yet again to our work. The little work we have currently.

I am not sure how many times we will have to live through Covid. How many variants there are on the way? All I know is I am exhausted. The stop and go. The loose everything and recuperate process. The delayed bills and catch up on them while life goes on. The deaths. The weddings we cannot attend. The friends we cannot visit because of travel bans. Masks. Sanitizer. Curfews. My goodness, what a time.  This period will be forever with me, because I know someday in the future we will have to retell this as a story to future generations. Like a tale, only we lived through it. 

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