19 April 2020
As we all woke up on the 19th of April, our curiosity levels were just on another level so high that people waited for the President’s address anxiously. Some got joking about it on social media platforms, writing, “This is how we waited for the Constitutional Court to pass its ruling in 2018.”
Around 4 pm, the President finally broke the news which everyone had been waiting for, to extend the lockdown by another fourteen days which would end on the 3rd of May. The same conditions that had been applicable on the first lockdown would still apply to the second one.
- ZUPCO buses to operate while observing social distancing
- No loitering around the community and in the Central Business District
- All schools to remain closed
- All shops to close by 3pm
Everyone has started to accept the lockdown as a good measure towards curbing the spread of the pandemic. We have started to adapt. The streets were still so clear with no one moving around. The police had now been deployed to operates in the streets and you could only be allowed in town if you had a letter from your job, that truly indicates that you were going to work.
United Kingdom Returning citizens
Citizens started to return from other countries and the 21-day quarantine started to come into effect. Belvedere Teachers College in the city of Harare was chosen as a quarantine center for citizens who had returned from the United Kingdom. Three days after their arrival, two of the citizens tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
22 April 2020
In the biggest city of Harare where much of the population is located, many are involved in the informal sector, as evidenced by the number of small shanty structures that have developed, for either tuckshops (a small food-seller) or residential purposes. The government therefore engaged in demolishing all the illegal structures as a way of trying to maintain hygienic living. This, however, had already blurred the future of the informal sector due to thoughts that even after the pandemic and the lockdown they would have nothing to sustain to them.
22 April 2020
“Ndlala” – “Hunger”
I woke up a little bit distressed after my aunt had called to tell me that there wasn’t much left for her family to eat in the village. I could feel her words–they carried pain, hopelessness, and they were so emotionally heavy. Later during the day, she called to say they had received food stuffs from an organization operating in the village – 50 kg of mealie meal and five liters of cooking oil.
“a swi fani no pfumala hambi xo mieta n’wana,” she remarked as she ended the call.
“It’s far much better than having nothing to comfort the baby with.’’
23 April 2020
A tutorial on WhatsApp — Learning online.
My tutor from college notified us that we would have course tutorials on WhatsApp so that we won’t be left behind when the lockdown ends. Many students in my class agreed to this method, but by the time we started the tutorial, only a few were online to contribute in the WhatsApp group. My classmates started complaining of the data. I could not attend, either, because I had no internet connection. This just proved that if learning online was going to be adopted, there was need to reduce the data tariffs for the benefit of everyone.
24 April 2020
The virus in the rural areas
After Gogo Nguni’s death had been recorded as the fourth casualty, the Ministry of Health and Child Care conducted mass testing in Mhondoro to fully trace the people who had been in contact with her. Since one of the positive cases was found not to be living in the same homestead with the deceased Gogo Nguni, it was then discovered that there might be local transmission in the rural area. The 32nd case was also reported to have been from Murehwa, a small rural area close to Harare.
24 April 2020
Storytelling for Coronavirus
I am part of the Corona Virus Zimbabwe group that is part of Ear For Africa. We translate coronavirus awareness messages into the different languages spoken in Zimbabwe. In an attempt to hear from my community members from Chiredzi-South, a Shangani speaking community, I engaged three of them, to learn from them about how the pandemic had impacted their lives, especially the daily lives of women and girls. They expressed upon issues concerning their daily lives: education, social life and the cultural part of life. After sharing the video on different platforms, I realized how creativity can best sent through impactful messages to people. Having collected the audio interviews and sent them on social media, the video started to have a great following, more than I thought it could. I always feel happy when I get platforms to represent my community and have their voices amplified, being a spokesperson of the Shaangani people–that’s what I love best, that’s my identity!
30 April 2020
The unexpected rise
The country now had a total number of 7,642 tested people. We all thought that the number of cases had been rising gradually, until we woke up to an alarming surprise when cases had swiftly rose from 32 to 40, although the recoveries now numbered five, in addition to the four deaths. With such numbers, we all knew how inevitable the extension of the lockdown was. The Ministry of Health later on notified the people that six individuals who had tested positive had now tested negative bringing the number of cases to 34.
Constance Myambo is a final year social work student at the University of Zimbabwe, and she is a member of Ear For Africa, a grassroots organization. She is based in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe.
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The Teach311 + COVID-19 Collective began in 2011 as a joint project of the Forum for the History of Science in Asia and the Society for the History of Technology Asia Network and is currently expanded in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science(Artifacts, Action, Knowledge) and Nanyang Technological University-Singapore.