CAPE TOWN IN CV19 LOCKDOWN
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South Africa went into a strict lockdown on 26th of March 2020. For 21 days.
By strict I mean no movement other than to get food or meds.
No exercise, walking dogs etc.
No alchohol or tobacco sales!
For those in the suburbs, that means one thing.
For those in informal settlements and townships and for the homeless, that means something else altogether.
Today would have been the last day of that 21 days.
But a week ago, 14 more days were added.
I started going into the deserted city on about day 4 to photograph what was happening.
This album is a selection of images from the CBD and surrounds.
I have included the text that I am writing on my Facebook album below the photo gallery.
Not much time to write as processing the images is time consuming.
To see the full album, please go to Nicky Newman Photography on Facebook or try this link below.
SAT 30 January 2021 - Beach protest
These are indeed baffling times.
Never in a million years would I have believed that I would be taking part in and photographing people protesting the right to swim in the sea! Especially in a health crisis where many families are living in cramped homes, schools closed, stress and tension being at an all time high, (never mind that Vitamin D seems to be something that helps against CV and exercise is good for our bodies and minds also good for not getting CV).
We are all having to learn to live, work and be differently, from the micro to the macro.
While I appreciate healthy debate and airing opinions, I’m not loving people angrily stating their opinions and realities (yes all of our realities are different) and then belittling and attacking other people who are doing things differently, making sweeping statements, judging heavily, “othering”, labelling and dumping their fear and frustrations.
So, there will be views expressed that you might disagree with, that’s ok. Just breath.
This is my page and my post and I will delete hateful comments.
So back to yesterday morning, for those living outside of South Africa, it’s been a hot summer and the extended lockdown rules sometimes don’t make much sense. All the places in nature, the beaches, lakes, national parks etc are off limits, while other less healthy places are good to go. I’m not sure who organized this gathering to call for the beaches to open, but off I went.
The sky was low, the beach completely empty apart from a few fishermen getting bait, law enforcement and SAPS.
People, all sorts of people, and I mention this specifically as some label this is a “rich, white” protest, therefore invalid, gathered on the walkway.
A mother walked her daughter to the sea and was escorted back by the police.
Then one man walked onto the beach, sat in a lotus position, hands in the air. There was a tense moment as the cops surrounded him and as that happened, everyone else just poured onto the beach around him. What a beautiful spark he was, setting things off for the rest of us.
The cops made a line between the people and the sea but everyone just ran and danced into the water. 10 minutes later, all law enforcement left and what a magnificent morning it was.
I could feel the elation of the babies, kids and dogs having been cooped up for way too long.
People swam, some fully dressed, delighting in the healing salty water, the fresh air and each other, refusing to be bound by laws that allow you to gamble in an indoor casino, eat in nearby restaurants, but not to walk on a massive long open stretch of beach.
(The beaches were opened the next day. And one of the photos of the meditating man surrounded by police went viral. The memes this generated were insane ... currently making a collage of what this unique pandemic/digital moment felt like.)
30 MARCH, DAY 5
I drove around CT today, (armed with my permit), into Town, Sea Point, Signal Hill, Woodstock etc.
Difficult to put into words what I saw and encountered.
Suddenly seeing so many small amazing details around in the stillness.
Will be processing (in more ways than one) the photos this evening, but starting this album with this pic of Long Street - complete with the little sign on the right saying Good Times ... mad mad mad times more like it.
SUN 05 APRIL, Day 10
Today was very bleak and sad and hard in the city. It's cold and wet. The people who live on the streets are becoming increasingly desperate. I did see feeding tables up in certain parts. There are still some refugees in tents outside the police station. Everyone's life is upside down and there is stress and anxiety spilling over everywhere.
I saw a solitary man, just standing with his backpack in the middle of nowhere. I couldn't bring myself to take a photo, it felt intrusive. A single mother whose husband still has three months in jail wept because she's afraid he won't be able to find them if they are moved to the site in Strandfontein. She then apologized for the tears saying she's usually so strong but it's all just reaching a tipping point. omg.
There were stranded travelers from Durban caught between the cracks. As winter approaches, I am worried.
TUESDAY 08 APRIL, Day 13
Another intense day. My friends under the bridge were moved and their huts and belongs smashed to bits. Hunger levels are increasing. I spent the day outside District six museum opposite the police station with the some of the community who were living in the church on Greenmarket Square. They invited me in, told me that I'm safe and welcome. What I witnessed was a lesson in grace, humor, unity, community, gratitude and love and faith. Busses arrived to much jubilation and I couldn't help but break down in tears for the journey these beautiful people have endured, and continue to. Some of the stories they told me you wouldn't even believe! These pics are a quick smattering of the captures of the day.
"GOOD" FRIDAY. 10 April, Day 15
I'm getting to know more of the folks who live rough and those stranded, or compromised in some way.
On Thursday night I asked people on FB to help me help these people with money for meds/taxi fare/food/airtime etc.thinking a few grand might come in. The response was incredible! Enough to share with other people directly feeding kids, an animal shelter, and some people I'm in contact with on the streets. Thank you one and all! There is a massive effort happening across the land to assist the most vulnerable, it's a beautiful thing to behold and to be able to be a part of.
When i got to the bridge with food and provisions yesterday the mood had shifted considerably.
People are hungry and confused and probably going cold turkey from something - haven't seen one person with a cigarette or drunk.
Tempers are quick to flare. But even in this stressed state, there's some humor and lightness.
People told me that a man had died in the field next door to them the night before.
A masked and gloved policeman tells them that they absolutely have to get ready to go to the Strandfontein sight.
They most decidedly do not want to go as word travels and they are more scared to go there than to stay where they are now.
he cop says that he can't force them but if they do not go there will be consequences i,e jail. I'm watching one of the faces of an older man, I've not met before, trying to follow the conversation with the cop as his English isn't great.
These are big decisions they are having to make.
There is still three weeks of LockDown. For now.
Although this is an emergency effort right now, I start dreaming of a massive and permanent reshuffling of society, imagine if we could use this "disaster" and the incredible things coming out of it to really make some big changes?
I mean some rival gangsters have called a truce and are working together to feed their communities .... wow!
Imagine harnessing their warrior energy to help the communities instead of waring and shooting people and themselves.
Imagine if we could keep the city safe for people, no matter where, if women and kids and gentle men could move freely - lower crime - what a different reality that could be for everyone. This is a truly unique moment in time. I hope we use it well.
EASTER SUNDAY, 12 April, Day 17
Managed to get quite a bit of food out to people today.
The numbers are growing in town and surrounds as are the hunger levels.
Apart from the actual physical help of food, so many just need to be heard. To be seen. So I heard many (sad and wonderful) stories today.
I was reminded that it's often those that have the least, that are the most willing and able to share.
We were on Greenmarket Square. I was giving out bananas and one man was squashing them into his mouth like he hadn't eaten in days. More people arrived and I'd run out of the bananas . This hungry man, instead of clutching his last one and moving on, turned around and gave it to the new guy. I wish I had a bloody truck full of bananas (and steaming hot soup). Heart breaking and heart warming at the same time to see this compassion when someone is literally starving. Saw a meme yesterday that said something like Can we Please give as much energy to solving hunger issues as we are to CV19.
Yes to that. There always is enough to go around.
We just need to be be better organized with humanity being at the core of our decision making and action taking.
There's deeply disturbing shit going on, the forced removals/evictions of people during lockdown ... !!! .... on the easter weekend, in a big storm!!!! The way the cops behaved at Masi on Thursday (read Daily Maverick article and photo spread) - yoh!
The Strandfontein homeless site is highly contentious - I haven't been there myself.
AND there's also all sorts of miraculous things happening as well. Connections being formed with these CAN groups - pairing townships and suburbs together for aid and co-operation. Also massive civil society lift across the board within communities.
People are getting organized because the pressure is on to feed many many people.
Not easy to do when the world is Locked Down either. Logistics of shopping and cooking and distributing are tricky.
Never mind cash flow.
And every now and again the bizarreness - scary how quickly one gets used to it - just hits me and I start laughing hysterically.
I mean here's a nation of many seriously heavy drinkers, smokers and drug takers all cut off from these substances (unless they had enough time, money and foresight to really stock up) cut off from alcohol and tobacco and self medicating drugs in one sudden moment. BAM!
No warning. And then not able to work or move on top of it, living on top of your people, kids and animals .... mad.
Highest of stress. No income. Everyone is in process mode of one sort or another.
Our stuff is coming up, as they say, and it's both fascinating and weird to live and observe it.
Just had the 8 o clock neighborhood cheer for the front-liners.
We should do this when Stay Home is finished.
More is nog n dag / tomorrow is another day,
PS to those that so generously donated from my other post ... thank you !!! Being able to distribute the resources to the most needy of people and places is humbling, a learning curve of note, and deeply appreciated by everyone.
13 MAY - Hello again. This selection of pics is called Mini-Meltdown. Some of you may be familiar with the situation, some not. For those not, Peter Wagenaar lives in Sea Point and was feeding homeless people who have been caught between a rock and hard place even more so than normal during the long and harsh CV19 lockdown.
There are deeply polarized opinions about feeding and helping homeless people in many suburbs surrounding the CBD. In this instance things got so heated that those opposing Peter’s actions put his personal details on a FB group and his car was torched in the early hours of the morning.
I was really shocked. It took me a while to come to the car.
This same issue in my neighborhood is pressing my buttons and I find myself being deeply triggered around the whole topic of food security, both locally and on a country-wide scale.
Did I really want to go and see this destruction, fear, hatred and bullying up close? Then I saw a FB post talking about doing something creative with the car
and I went down.
I met Peter who is helped every morning by Justin, a man who sleeps outside nearby.
They know and connect with the people they are feeding as human beings. Not "vagrants or junkies or criminals" as they are often referred to by the opposers.
Peter knows most by name and tells me stories about their back stories and life circumstances.
There’s immense humbleness, gratitude, pride and caring happening at this bus-stop and the car itself has been transformed into a shrine of love and support. And Bless the artists who arrived with color and heart.
You can find out more details about Mini MeltdownFeeding here