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Life during Covid restrictions in Gauteng, South Africa

South Africa is still on Phase 4 Covid restrictions. It is so sad to hear about all the deaths and people contracting Covid. Virtually every family has been affected. So, it is indeed a serious situation. Despite this, life in Gauteng goes on as normal as possible. People are diligently wearing their masks while going to work or shopping. There is a curfew in place between the hours of 9 pm and 4 am. The shopping centers are open, but quite a few stores and restaurants are closed. The roads are not very busy.

I intended to visit my brothers in Bloemfontein and on the East Coast but cannot, as yet, since the borders are still closed for travel outside Gauteng. So, I used my time catching up with dear friends.

I stayed with my friend, Jeanette, for a few days. We’ve known each other since 2002 when we were both fledging VIF teachers in the USA. We could go to restaurants for take-outs and limited seating inside. However, that did not deter some folks from hanging out together, sitting on the sidewalk to enjoy their meals, or, as one restaurant owner put it, “waiting for an uber.”

A cold front had come in from the South. I slept soundly with a hot water bottle tucked in the bed. Very few houses in South Africa have central heating.

We visited Annelie, who had a roaring fire in her fireplace! She managed to find some wine in her stash, which further warmed the blood. Under the Covid restrictions, alcohol sales are not allowed. The prohibition of alcohol prevents unnecessary accidents due to drunken driving or people getting into fights. That, plus the curfew, free up beds necessary for Covid patients. The hospitals are filled to capacity, and there is talk of a shortage of oxygen supplies. More and more people are now getting the vaccine, but many do not trust getting a shot.

Traditional South African braaiIt is so lovely to taste South African food again: rusks, ‘biltong,’ ‘droë wors,’ sausage rolls, steak, and kidney pie, samosas, curry and rice…. and of course, the traditional braai!

I visited my childhood friend, Sterna, for a few days, and we had a wonderful braai with family and friends: lamb chops and boerewors!

Then, Annelie treated me to another braai, adding pork belly sosaties – what a treat.

By now, readers must be aware that a ‘braai’ is an essential ingredient of a visit to South Africa – a way of life!

Annelie is a professional flutist and music teacher. She accompanies a well-known South African singer, Jannie du Toit, on occasion. After making a recording for a television program on ‘KykNet’ celebrating Jannie’s 50th year in show business, she invited him and his wife for traditional fish and ‘slap’ chips doused in salt and vinegar. I was amazed that his wife, Terina, also spent some years in Puthaditjaba, QwaQwa, doing outreach work for the physically challenged people when I was there.

Ingrid and Hennie Maas (a well-known radio broadcaster) invited the publisher of my book, Daleen Malan, the editor, Rina, Sterna, and myself, for scones and tea and cappuccinos at their gorgeous house in Pretoria. I gave them all a copy of my book, Hippos, Hotspots, and Homelands.

Hennie recorded the interview on the Author Page of my Amazon Writer’s profile.

Things are quiet on the political front at the moment. We are holding our collective breath.