everyone is worth keeping safe — the pandemic isn’t over just because you’re over it - Bubblegum Club

everyone is worth keeping safe — the pandemic isn’t over just because you’re over it

I think it’s safe to say that for many of us, the full scope and breath of 2020, will take some time to process — there is so much to sift through and sit with. Because of this year, I think I can now say I know something of being inside the eye of an overwhelming and dizzying storm, of how quickly and with a drop of a hat the facts of our world which we take for granted can be brought to a complete standstill or plummeting down. I think I now know something more intimately, of fear, uncertainty, rage, panic and the undoing emotions of almost losing a loved one—my Malume Jerry—to a global pandemic. My father—whose own father: Pondo, was a farm worker—comes from a big Xhosa family of a sibling count in the double digits. Growing up I would spend most, if not all of my Christmas holidays in Potchefstroom just being a happy kid with my cousins. In all of my rebellious and against the grain “weirdo cousin from the city” form, my family always gave me room to be abundantly myself — even when they didn’t quite understand who that was. There was always room to ask questions, never the imposition of roles or expectations onto us and always so much loving playfulness — I have a distinct relationship with each of them, each of of my uncles is immeasurably important to me and so too are the roles they have played in my life. So when I found out that on July 12 2020 my Malume Jerry, who is also a high risk individual, had been admitted into the intensive care unit because of coronavirus I was devastated, terrified and profoundly helpless.

Infographic courtesy Solidarity Fund

Hi girl. hey, Lindi! After so long. Nou I’m a lot better, I’m feeling the improvement, yeah I was terribly sick on Sunday. I truly thought I was dying, I’ve never felt so sick in my life but I’m happy that I’m in the hospital now and that I’m getting this treatment. I’m going to beat this, I would never want anyone to feel this way. You don’t understand what’s happening to you, I was just so disorientated and couldn’t even breathe but I’m glad I made it to the hospital in time. But also don’t worry. I’m telling you in the next few weeks I’ll be fine, blind blind, I’m going to heal. I’m just worried about all of you kids out there…

That was the first time I was hearing my uncle’s voice in over a year — strained, exhausted accompanied by a ventilator orchestra and yet, still trying to reassure us even though I’m sure he must have been feeling a suffocating type of fear. He was eventually discharged on Wednesday 22 July. We still don’t know where he contracted coronavirus from—It could have been from anywhere, on anything he touched, on anyone he hugged, waiting, hidden—but we do know that in some ways, it could’ve been prevented. What this moment needs, is for us to show up with rigorous consideration of and for each other and not just ourselves, it needs for us to wear our masks properly, to sanitise and wash our hands consistently, to avoid large indoor gatherings and crowds and ultimately to commit to changing our behaviour. I think of how had my Malume Jerry not made it, he would not have been to meet his grandchild after birth nor would he have been there to witness the wedding of his first born Sibongile. So much would have been taken from us as a family and from him.



Infographic courtesy Solidarity Fund

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