Joburg COVID-19 Lockdown Journal: Day 4

by | Mar 30, 2020 | COVID-19, Johannesburg | 5 comments

If you’re new to this blog series (and/or you live under a boulder) and don’t know what’s happening with South Africa’s 21-day lockdown, my first post  has all the details. Or read all my lockdown journal entries.

It’s Day 4 of lockdown and I’m running out of interesting things to photograph.

Flowers in my garden during lockdown
Lockdown photo 4: Boring. I’ll make more of an effort tomorrow.

As of today there have been 1326 COVID-19 cases and three deaths in South Africa. I’m feeling encouraged these numbers aren’t climbing very quickly, comparatively speaking. Let’s hope it continues that way.

Thoughts on today:

  1. Except for the garbage man I waved to yesterday, I haven’t seen or spoken to another human in four days. It’s a super weird feeling.
  2. Eight years ago I wrote a silly blog post about baking bread using pre-made bread dough I bought at Spar for R10. I have never baked a single loaf of bread before or since. Over the past week, that post has become the most-read post on my blog (other than these COVID-19 updates). The whole world has gone bread-baking mad! And I totally get it, as I’m craving fresh-baked bread myself these days. Does anyone know if Spar is still selling that dough?
  3. I know this series is about the lockdown in South Africa. But I need to talk for a minute about the dire situation in the United States, especially in the New York Metropolitan area. I’m so afraid for my home country and all of my family and friends. This morning I listened to today’s episode of This American Life, which was filled with personal stories about how the pandemic is affecting New York. It was utterly terrifying and heartbreaking (a word I’m using too often lately.). This is one of the best podcast episodes I’ve ever heard — I’m sure it will win awards — but while listening I cried harder than I have for a very long time. Please listen to it but have a box of tissues ready.

Lockdown Journal

5:55 a.m.: Message from Xolani: “Morning Heather it’s time to wake up.”

6:08 a.m.: Video call from Xolani. This man takes his job very seriously. I don’t answer.

6:09 a.m.: Message from Xolani: “How many skips are you doing today?” Okay okay. I get up. Make coffee, read news, social media.

6:55 a.m.: Run 20 laps around the house, which is exactly 1.6 kilometers or one mile. Do 1500 skips — as promised to Xolani — counted out in sets of 500.

7:55 a.m.: Complete Xolani’s workout as outlined on Saturday. Feel triumphant.

8:30 a.m.: Coffee, muesli, bath, podcasts. Sob while listening to This American Life. Feel hopeless.

10:00 a.m.: Skype therapy session (highly recommended for lockdown sanity).

11:00 a.m.: Work on computer for the rest of the day. I am extremely fortunate to have steady freelance writing work right now. So many of my colleagues have lost all their clients and I’m grateful to still have one.

6:00 p.m.: Eat pre-made Woolworths macaroni and cheese. Don’t worry, I added vegetables.

Today was a pretty average day for a lockdown.

Today’s Worthy Cause

This is not really a cause, more of a mutually beneficial exchange. I am pleased to announce Xolani — Coach X — has launched his Lockdown Personal Training business.

You have seen the descriptions of my lockdown workouts with Xolani, both above and on Saturday. These workouts have been the highlight of my lockdown so far.

I’ve been training with Xolani for several years and I can’t say enough about his skills as a boxing coach and personal trainer. He is always coming up with new and ever more challenging exercises. Also he is one of the most pleasant people I know, and has a great sense of humor.

Xolani and team
Xolani, second from left, with all my Saturday morning workout buddies who I miss terribly right now.

Also: Xolani, like all personal trainers in South Africa (and most of the world), abruptly lost all his business when the pandemic hit. Also: Xolani’s lovely wife Patricia is about to give birth to their first child in April. Probably during the lockdown. They’re having a lockdown baby!

So please give Coach X a try. For R100 ($10 for international clients), you get a week’s worth of virtual consultation and workouts. I promise you’ll be fitter and happier at the end of that week. Contact Xolani at the number above or ask me for more details.

Happy lockdown, y’all. Only 17 days to go.


  1. eremophila

    Ok Heather, I’m your tough love friend right now. STOP watching or listening to anything that isn’t uplifting for the next 48 hours! Time to look after yourself, time to stop indulging in worry over things you cannot change. We all know you have masses of compassion, you don’t have to feel guilty for having a positive attitude.????
    Smile, sing the song, don’t worry be happy, look it up on YouTube.
    Much love and hugs, Annie.

    • 2summers

      Thanks Annie, I really do appreciate that sentiment. But it’s just not the way I’m functioning right now. I understand the concept of emotional detachment and I know it’s working well for others right now but not for me.

      • eremophila

        No, I’m not talking emotional detachment at all! You are a caring person, can’t change that nor should you!
        But it’s more useful to imagine a better outcome, to see the positive aspects, but not focus on the bad things you have no control over. Spend that energy for good things to happen, even if it just feels like pretending at first.

  2. Margaret Urban

    Good morning Heather!

    You do circuits around your house 🙂 This morning, after collecting my M – F newspaper, I did a circuit of our basement carpark :-/ I think I’lll do that every day …
    Mainly I want to add some info re the apparently small number of new cases here in RSA: two main reasons:
    the folks who came (back) with it from overseas and their contacts were the vast majority of the early cases; that falls away with the shutdown on travel;
    second: there is a backlog of tests and results to come through, especially from the private sector who aren’t geared up for large scale testing of anything; at least a queue of 5000 tests from what I’ve heard.
    Meanwhile NHLS (National Health Laboratory Service – where I used to work) is scaling up as fast as they can; the really big increase in testing will only come at the end of next month when the new automated tests are available: 36 000 a day. Ironically/sadly we will have this capacity because we have the relevant, transportable, machines due to our high TB burden.

    Keep exercising!! hug

    • 2summers

      Thanks for the info, Margaret! Yeah I know in theory the current numbers are misleading. Maybe I should stop reporting them. Anyway, enjoy your carpark circuit.


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