It seemed as though it was just a conventional day in Hangberg, a community in Houtbay that sits nestled between the ocean and the mountain, on day seven of the national lockdown. Home to a vibrant fishing community as colourful as one would expect, Hangberg is somewhat a forgotten village, hidden from the public eye on the slopes of the Sentinel Mountain. Like many other areas, the community is overcrowded and residents are plagued by substance abuse and unemployment. Children could be seen playing outside and adults were keeping conversation in the street, a stark contrast to the desolate feeling in other areas. Community activist, Roscoe Jacobs said the information on the coronavirus and the national lockdown has fallen on deaf ears.
“I drove around with South African Police Services (SAPS) through the streets and I was allowed to speak over the megaphone to inform people that they should stay in their houses and comply with the lockdown regulations,” says Jacobs, as he took VOC News into the area.
However, resident Ruwaydah King said the onus lies on parents to communicate the importance of adhering to the lockdown.
“They don’t take it seriously because when you are walking with a mask they [children] laugh at you, they take it as a joke, and the kids are walking freely. Mothers don’t keep them in the house and I feel like you as a mother must see to it that your child must be inside and all of that,” stated King.
But Jacobs believes that parents are doing the best they can under the circumstances.
“Many parents are trying to keep their kids indoors but it becomes a big challenge for us in poorer communities, when there isn’t much to keep the kids entertained. In affluent areas kids probably have Xboxes and PlayStations that keep them in doors and here that isn’t very prominent,” said Jacobs.
King said as an essential worker, the past week proved to be a challenge. She agrees there should be an extension of the lockdown but she feared it would have adverse effects in poorer communities.
“We can’t think only think about ourselves, we have to keep the needy in mind too. There are many others that can’t even afford a simple task like washing their hands regularly, or even sanitizers. They aren’t that lucky,” expressed King.
Jacobs explained that self-isolation is a luxury to those who live in a one bedroom house with seven other people.
Another resident, Rashieda Adams drew an example from the Aids/HIV crisis and said that people acted swiftly to ensure that the disease was not contracted. She suggested that same vigor be pumped into flattening the curve of covid-19.
“We need to take heed and we need to take note too many people and children are taking this virus as a joke,” said Adams.
The Western cape currently has a total of 475 recorded covid-19 infections. A total of 26 patients have been hospitalized, 12 of which are in ICU. There is a total of 1655 people infected countrywide.
An elderly resident Dorianne Saunders said now more than ever it is time to do two things, one to spread kindness and second to stay home.
“We are all different cultures, but that doesn’t matter we are all the same. We are all Gods creatures. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Christian or whether you’re Muslim. You’re a human being and that’s what counts,” ended Saunders.