In 2020, I went back up to the community of KwaJobe with Sizah Mtshali. Sizah and I began working with the groups in 2016, and whenever an opportunity presents itself, we head back up there. We were deeply concerned at how Covid would have impacted on the livelihoods of the crafters.
One would think that in rural areas, Covid-19 protocols were largely ignored. Particularly mask wearing. We were amazed and just how many people were wearing their masks (whether at home or outside). Space is not an issue up here, and coupled with all that fresh air, we felt completely at ease meeting with the group.
‘How has lockdown affected you?’ we ask.
‘Yoh,’ Ma Eunice says. ‘It has been hard. The older children have lost their jobs and come home. Now it is us providing for them again.’
‘And the children are not at school, so there is no meal for them there. We must feed everyone,’ says another.
Many rural households depend on the daily feeding scheme offered during the week. Often it is the one substantial meal that children eat a day.