Since my last post, only a week and a half ago, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa has increased more than ten-fold (currently 709 according to the official government website). So on Monday evening our president once again addressed the nation to announce the next step: lockdown. As of midnight tonight, for the next three weeks, all South Africans except those providing essential services will be confined to their homes. We can leave to go to the doctor or to buy essential foodstuffs and medicine only.
It’s scary. Neither the missus nor I have been sleeping well, and since yesterday I’ve been walking around with a spasm in my neck muscles so severe that I can’t turn my head or raise my right hand above shoulder height. (And I thought my stress levels hit the ceiling when I found out on Saturday that the beach had been closed…).
But I also know it’s the right thing to do, and I’m glad the powers that be are doing this sooner rather than later.
Last weekend we went on safari. The oldest proclaimed game reserve in Africa, the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, is only about an hour’s drive away from us. We’ve been living here two years, and have never been there. So when my mom came to visit for the minion’s birthday, we decided the time was ripe to give it a visit.
It’s election year in South Africa. This fact was suddenly brought home to me on Sunday when, turning out of our street, we were confronted with election posters on every lamppost on the way to church. Only one party’s, by the way – looks like they decided to get an early start.
Election posters are only that big, so parties usually come up with a slogan that’s short enough to fit in while big enough that motorists can read them without squinting so desperately at the poster that they actually run into the lamppost supporting it. In an ideal world, that slogan will also tell people what your party stands for.
This party must have one hell of a copywriter, or they don’t stand for much, as they managed to keep their slogan to only two words:
Today is South Africa’s birthday, and at 21 years old this country is about as well-behaved as your average legally-an-adult-but-mentally-still-a-teenager who is still coming to terms with the new-found freedom that comes from escaping the restrictions of the parental home and the ability to legally purchase alcohol (which happens at eighteen over here, but by twenty-one most have not yet adapted).
Warning: I strongly advise sensitive readers to skip this one.
South Africa has always been considered a world leader in transplant surgery, ever since Doctor Christiaan Barnard performed the world’s first successful heart transplant in the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town in 1967. Apparently we’ve made history in this field once again…