There is finally a little more freedom after two years of lockdown restrictions in Mzansi. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced several changes to Covid-19 health regulations on Tuesday. But will Mzansi drop its new-formed habits?
That’s highly likely, says Esethu Mpiti (22) from Town 2 in Khayelitsha. Among the president’s new rules is the option to no longer wear a mask outdoors.
Mpiti suspects this regulation will bring much relief to citizens. She tells Health For Mzansi, “People will immediately discontinue wearing masks following the end of the state of emergency, because wearing that fabric over your face is such an inconvenience; breathing is limited, it itches, and it can be hot, which irritates some of us.”
‘Covid-19 has traumatised me’
Ramaphosa announced new possible regulations on Tuesday night. He also announced that the state of disaster would end after the public commented on the proposed new regulations.
The president also urged the unvaccinated to get their jab. Mpiti shares the president’s sentiments and says that she wishes “people could simply meet the government halfway by getting vaccinated, so that even if they enter places with crowds, they will be vaccinated to protect themselves and others”.
Meanwhile artist and Khayelitsha teacher Nolubabalo Rhani (45) says she has grown afraid of becoming infected. After managing to survive three major infection waves in 2021, she fears the country may slip into to another Covid-19 “warzone” if we get too excited by the new rules.
Rhani says that she is afraid of contracting Covid-19 and will continue to move on as if she is living in a state of emergency. “Most of those affected were teachers and people I knew, and I believe that it is not wise for us to drop the current state of emergency, it is not the best time to proceed. We are not ready.”
‘My safety first, before anything else’
“Masks or no masks, kuyafana [one and the same thing],” says Phumeza Kula (21) from Kuyasa, Khayelitsha. Kula has already witnessed massive crowds at church and other events, both indoors and outdoors, people entering without masks, no social distancing, and even on public transportation.
She believes that the amended regulations are just another way of unlocking the country. “I vaccinated, so I should be safe,” she says. “I’m not sure how safe I am if the person next to me in a taxi isn’t wearing a mask, isn’t socially distancing, or isn’t vaccinated at all.”
Kula adds, “If the president believes it is the right thing to do to return to normalcy, we will face the fire when we get there.”
Siyabonga Khusela (23) from KwaLanga is a little more suspicious of the motive of government. He is the founder of the Langa For Men organisation. “Not long ago, people did not wear masks or maintain social barriers during political rallies. As a result, I’m wondering if Covid-19 exists at all?” he asks.
He says, however, that he would rather be safe than sorry and will definitely be opting for his booster.