Day 59 – Another address

Not me. I’m very much still at the same address.

Quiz news: We quizzed last night (joint first after a disastrous collapse in the popular culture round) (and I was one day off on the date of the sinking of the Titanic earlier in the evening) (unforgivable).

I’m doing a friends’ UK quiz this evening.

I have a quiz on Wednesday.

As far as socialising goes, that’s it, but it’s valuable time with friends and we’re very grateful for it. We need that bridge to sanity, even if I did awake in a cold sweat at 3am dreaming about the 14th/15th April 1912.

As the worst of the pandemic hits Cape Town, the President is due to make another address this evening. 7pm, he says, but he’s not been on time for one yet. This is to announce (we think) a relaxation in the lockdown for some/most/probably not all of the country. The government has lost the faith and  support of the nation on the lockdown. It’s not going well.

The kids are 8 days away from a potential return to school, by which time the virus in Cape Town will be at the highest levels ever seen. The jury is still out whether this return is a good idea or not – or if it’s even going to happen. Maybe we’ll get some direction this evening. Maybe not. Probably not.

Our lockdown was meant to allow time for the healthcare system to prepare for the virus. Did we delay the start of the worst phase? Yes, probably. Has it made any difference? I’m not sure. We’re still being completely overwhelmed by the numbers. Would we have been more overwhelmed if this had happened two months ago? It seems hard to believe, but who knows?

But we can’t go back and do things differently: we don’t have a time machine, and even if we did, what sort of muppet would head back to late March and wait for the virus to hit SA? I know that there are some pretty stupid people out there, but honestly.
That would be like going back to the Grand Staircase of the Titanic on the 13th April 1912.

Safe for 24 hours then, at least. [swearword]

Sorry. I digress. Often.

If the purpose was to ready the healthcare system, then whether or not we managed to do that, there is very limited purpose in keeping the lockdown on: even in Cape Town, capital of the African branch of the pandemic.

Many people will be looking forward to being allowed to purchase alcohol and cigarettes again, but it’s doubtful that we’ll be allowed both – we might not even get either. Decent research shows that the prohibition on these items has been wholly unsuccessful and has generated a significant and structured black market which will likely continue after the lockdown and which will supply funds to organised crime.

So that’s good news. If you like organised crime.

Depending on what is announced this evening, tonight (and by tonight, I mean tomorrow, because we all need our sleep and it’s going be stormy and cold here this evening) could bring a huge celebration or widespread rioting.

Rest assured that I’ll bring you all the news from the streets with my bottle of petrol (or beer) in hand.

Keep safe. Keep well. Put a damn mask on.

Day 49 – The nextension

The President was only 22 minutes late for his address last night. In it, he said that there would be some relaxation of the lockdown at the end of the month and a gradual re-opening of the economy, but not for those areas with high and/or increasing transmission rates.

The next extension. The nextension.

The nextension means at least another 18 days at Level 4 before we even get considered for any sort of parole.

 

But as you can see, Cape Town is very much one of those red areas (it’s right at the top of the South African Covid tree, in fact), but then so are all the major metros to some extent. And Port Elizabeth.

And so it seems unlikely that we’ll get any lockdown relief any time soon. In the meantime, the economy will have rely on the 27 people who work outside Cape Town and Joburg, including the 2 guys in the Northern Cape.

Phew. Recession and economic disaster averted.

Not really – unless we are going to become a sand-based economy.
Still, I’m past ruling anything out at this stage.

Today, I’ve mainly been walking a grumpy beagle, putting the finishing touches to a quiz I’m hosting tomorrow evening, and helping out with school science projects. We’re delving deeply into Physics: my favourite of all the Sciences (assuming you exclude all the good ones first). I’m knee-deep in frequencies and wavelengths. I thought I’d left this all behind at school. That was always the plan, and indeed the intervening n years have been blissful – at least in their lack of physics.

(I admit that I have used gravity quite a bit, if I’m honest.)

My brain hurts and I need a beer. But even those have become much more valuable given the guaranteed extended time before I’m able to buy any more.

Day 28 – Brilliant Ben

Tonight’s Presidential address is when we will learn if the lockdown is going to be extended again. The smart money is on yes, but really, no-one has any idea. Possibly not even Cyril himself. In fact, the only thing we can all agree on is that tonight’s speech will kick off a customary n minutes late (because if he’s on time, it’s a sign that he’s been kidnapped and replaced by a lookalike.) (Hopefully a lookalike with a bit more of a spine, but that’s another story).

To kill the time before our parole is postponed, I have been reading Ben Trovato’s latest column. You know: the one in which the author’s birthday trip to Costa Rica has been cancelled and he’s blaming everyone he can think of.

As a chronicle of the lockdown in SA, it’s so, so good:

My suburb is tightly locked down. There are snitches and curtain-twitchers in every second house. Nobody dare leave their home for fear of being named and shamed on one or other neofascist community WhatsApp group. Five kilometres down the road, the streets of the township are as busy and festive as ever. Fair play to them. I’d break a lot more than lockdown laws if I had to live in those conditions.

Life is turning into a cross between Survivor and The Hunger Games. On Survivor the tribes compete in challenges to win immunity. Here, we can’t get immunity unless we are infected with Covid-19. And we can’t get infected unless someone who already has the virus sneezes into our open mouths. But sneezing has been banned. We are also not allowed to show our mouths in public. Smoking, drinking and gambling is forbidden and police are flogging people in the streets. I think it’s safe to say that the Islamic State has accomplished at least some of its goals.

That’s all I’m sharing. Go and look at the whole thing yourself if you want more (there is plenty to go around).

Now, let’s see what this evening brings…

Voting Day

Great News!

It’s Election Day in South Africa, and although we all know who the winners are going to be, a quick perusal of the manifestos and promises of each and every party contesting today’s election clearly shows that whichever one gets in, the citizens of this fine land are going to be living in Utopia for the next five years.

Bring it, baby!

Crime, poverty, unemployment, corruption and laughable foreign policy, which have all been the bane of our collective lives for the past 2½ decades will be swept away. The appalling track record of service delivery (or rather “non-delivery”, lol) will be a thing of the past. I’ve checked what we’ve been promised by the new government and I can tell you that the future is looking pretty bright. If we have any electricity.

Woohoo!

Please be aware that this time around, the majority of the population will not be voting for Jacob Zuma’s ANC. Oh no, they’ll be voting for Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC.
This is the novel, clean, corruption-free version, with only half of JZ’s cronies in the hotseats. And a leader who saw nothing dodgy going on during his four years as Deputy President (despite… well, see the link above). And who has prosecuted and jailed about exactly zero of those implicated in State Capture and corruption since his promotion to President 15 months ago. And who seems regularly amazed at what a crappy state the country is in.

It’s new. Shiny. A fresh start. Mmmm.

I can’t wait. The next five years are going to be absolutely amazing.