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Day 1 of Lockdown in Ghetto


From the little designer holes on our durawall,
I rushed early morning, stood on our well and pried outside,
I could see little dusty innocent children gathered opposite our house,
Just across the road.

So innocently playing with one another with no sense of caution,
The little girl in a pink dress would touch the other ones mouth,
They were playing a game called corona.

My heart bled as l looked a little down street,
Two ladies talking over the hedge, probably gossiping about someone,
Their faces with so much joy and peace like there is nothing happening,
Now and again slapping each other’s hand.

I couldn’t see well, l got distracted by a lot of pedestrians,
Moving up and down in our street,
Some stopping to greet each other and make jokes about corona,
“It’s a disease for the whites, and lockdown is for the rich.”

I heard a metal sound that my eyes followed,
It was two houses going up opposite side of the road,
Many women were sitting on nearer clean buckets,
Engaging socially as they were collecting water for the day,
Tap water was now a luxury that in the ghetto that we saw once in year like Christmas.

A lady dressed in a supermarket uniform passed the road,
I overheard my neighbor greet her and ask what time they close,
She replied 4 o’clock and continued rushing to work,
I could almost swear she was late.

But then, did it matter from our side of the town,
The rains had been late the previous ending rainy season,
The city council garbage collection had been late for weeks,
The city council tap water was forever late, that we forgot about it.

My guess was everyone assumed that coronavirus would be late also,
Because after all it was the ghetto,
We were always last.

BELINDA is Mandela Washington Fellow (2019) and is attending to her final year for an Honours in Development Studies.


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