Clivias blooming on Day 8 of the South African lockdown

Joburg COVID-19 Lockdown Journal: Day 8

If you’re new to this blog series 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 posts.

It’s Day 8 — the second straight cold, rainy day of the lockdown in Joburg.

Clivias blooming on Day 8 of the South African lockdown
Beautiful clivias blooming in my garden. I’m not sure why they’re blooming now — they usually bloom in spring and it’s autumn here — but I’m not complaining.

I’ve decided not to break this journal down into a timeline anymore. There’s no longer much reason to recount every moment of my day, as my days are growing progressively similar. But my thoughts are still continually moving and changing.

Yesterday I never changed out of my pyjamas. I’m not going to lie — it felt pretty good. Today I’m wearing two sweaters, exercise tights, thick socks, and slippers.

I strained my achilles tendon (a chronic injury for me) while running around the house this morning. This is depressing — it’s getting harder and harder to find effective exercises to work around my many aches and pains. Ugh, old age. But my friend Julia, who is much younger and has a sore hip from running repeatedly in an awkward U shape around her own house, and I have decided exercising at home in weird repetitive ways must increase the risk of stress injuries. Are there any physios out there who’d like to comment on that hypothesis?

This morning I did a Zoom interview with two travel-blogger friends who are creating an online series of chats about COVID-19 and its impact on travel in South Africa. (I’ll share a link once the interview is released.)

The conversation got me thinking about my profession and how drastically it’s changed in the past two weeks, and how the world has drastically changed and will probably never be the same.

I thought about this planet’s massive army of passenger jets — tens of thousands strong — which served as insidious mass transporters of this invisible virus before the jets (mostly) stopped flying over the past few weeks. I thought about how I’ve chosen to live 8,000 miles away from my family for nearly a decade, reassuring myself with the mantra: If something bad happens I can always hop on a plane. I thought about my own sense of satisfaction each time I receive a new passport stamp.

I think this is all going to change now — maybe forever. It’s not good or bad, necessarily. It just is.

For today at least, I’m okay. I’m in my house, relatively warm now that I’ve cranked up the fireplace, watching the rain fall outside. I’ve moved my home office from the dining room table to the couch. The manic energy I had during the first few lockdown days has dissipated. I feel more peaceful.

I’m worried about my more extroverted friends, some of whom are really suffering from the solitude. (You know who you are, extroverted friends! I love you.) I hope we all make it through this somehow.

Today’s Worthy Cause

I’ve been feeling somber today, as you can tell. But right now I’m about to get excited.

Today I’m featuring one of my favorite worthy causes so far in this series: The #SpazaShopChallenge at African Accent in Katlehong.

Bongani Mabuza of African Accents Spaza Shop
Bongani Mabuza of the African Accent spaza shop. (Photo supplied by Bongani)

For those of you not in South Africa: Spaza shops are small community food shops/general dealers, usually located in townships and inner cities. Due to the country’s dreadful spacial planning during the apartheid era, low-income South Africans often live in far-flung communities (like Katlehong) without easy access to retail grocery stores. They depend on spaza shops for their daily food and other essentials. Fortunately most spaza shops are still open during the lockdown.

The other day I saw a post from my talented actress/filmmaker friend Nelisiwe, a.k.a. Mama Nells (check out Mama Nells’ work with Ofentse Mwase Films — she’s freaking hilarious), imploring people to donate money to spaza shop owners. These shop owners are uniquely well positioned to help people in their own communities.

I asked Nells who she’s donating to, and she told me about Bongani.

Bongani's shop in Katlehong
How beautiful is Bongani’s shop? I can’t wait to go there myself after the lockdown ends. (Photo supplied by Bongani)

Bongani has started a #SpazaShopChallenge, in which people donate money in R150 increments and he uses each donation to create a food/supply pack for a family in need.

Space Shop challenge food pack
A #SpazaShopChallenge food pack. It includes maize meal, canned fish, cooking oil, soup mix, milk, tea, sugar, soap, household cleaners, toilet paper, candles (for frequent power outages), and toothpaste.

Bongani is aiming to support 100 families with these packs during the lockdown. He has currently raised enough to reach 44 families.

I donated enough money for three packs. Bongani gave away the first batch yesterday and today, and sent me this photo.


For those in America and Europe: At the current abysmal rand-dollar exchange rate, R150 is about $8. EIGHT DOLLARS! If there were ever a time to make your dollars/euros go a long way to help people in need, it’s now.

Please donate to the #SpazaShopChallenge if you possibly can using the bank details below. If you live overseas, please contact me privately to donate. You can send the money to me via PayPal and I’ll transfer it directly to Bongani.

Account name: Bongani Mabuza
Bank: FNB
Account type: Cheque
Branch code: 250655
Account number: 62498922783
Reference: SpazaShopChallenge
Phone number: +27-72-517-0829

Stay safe and dry out there. Happy Friday.

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  • Reply Catrina April 3, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    Ah, last year I missed out on 10 months of running due to Achilles Tendonitis. I’m back to running, but I still regularly do PT exercises. Foam rolling the calf and tendon and calf stretches seem to work well. Growing old!

    • Reply 2summers April 3, 2020 at 6:20 pm

      I know, it’s the most annoying injury!

  • Reply Louise Whitworth April 3, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    Wow, I love the spaza shop challenge – such an amazing and smart initiative, it makes so much sense! That is my necessary and always needed good news fill for today – thank you as ever for sharing all these useful ways to help 😊

  • Reply j April 3, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    Can you WhatsApp or email me your paypal? I would like to donate. Hope you’re holding up AOK!

    • Reply 2summers April 3, 2020 at 7:58 pm

      Sending you an email now. xxx

  • Reply Momo Street April 3, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    Hi Heather. Thanks for these daily blogs. The info yesterday about the washable, cloth masks was great! Take care of that Achilles…I ruptured my right one 13 years ago (mid 40s) and it wasn’t fun recuperating from that. I’m now extra careful with my left one. So grateful for Zoom…keeps me connected with my staff (we’re all working from home) and it feels like I’m getting out of the house. Take care. Michael

    • Reply 2summers April 3, 2020 at 10:08 pm

      Thank you Michael. Achilles injuries are the worst – I pull mine once or twice a year 😩

    • Reply eremophila April 3, 2020 at 10:49 pm

      Regarding injuries, check out the Alexander Technique. Shows how to remodel our formerly poor movements into more fluid less stress. Many famous dancers, singers, entertainers use it. Even John Cleese😀
      Made a huge difference for my mobility.
      Beautiful clivia.

      • Reply 2summers April 4, 2020 at 6:48 am

        I will check that out – sounds like something I need. Thanks.

  • Reply Kathleen April 4, 2020 at 3:52 am

    Hi Heather. Great post and link. I have shared this on Facebook. Could you please send me your PayPal as well so I might donate please?

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2020 at 6:50 am

      Hi Kathleen, thanks so much! Sending you an email now.

  • Reply Kathleen April 4, 2020 at 3:54 am

    Oops. Too many pleases. Lol

  • Reply Lani April 4, 2020 at 6:12 am

    A lovely challenge. I saw a similar one for US healthcare workers where you adopt a nurse or something like that and have food delivered to them. Isn’t that lovely?

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2020 at 6:51 am

      Yes it is! People step up in times like this.

  • Reply Charmain Lines April 4, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you so much for the info on the SpazaShopChallenge, Heather. What a fantastic initiative, and Bongani’s shop looks so cool. Donation done.

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2020 at 1:26 pm

      Thank you so much Charmain!

  • Reply Margaret Urban April 4, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    Hi Heather – remember that age is but a number … But, yes, especially at this time of lockdown it is imperative to exercise safely according to our individual limitations.
    I’m really missing my regular physiotherapy sessions; very scared about any relapse of the dreadful sciatica I had about two years ago which kept me homebound for three weeks – practice for now, I guess :-/ Twas partly age related but –
    you are a good few years behind me!
    Keep warm. Hug.

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2020 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement Margaret. Exercise has been doubly difficult now with this weather! Hoping to get back into it tomorrow.

  • Reply Nancy April 4, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Please send me info to donate to the challenge by Paypal. Thanks.

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2020 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks Nancy! Emailing you now.

      • Reply Rian April 6, 2020 at 8:54 pm

        Donation made to the Spaza Shop Challenge. Bongani will be able to donate a few more parcels.

        • Reply 2summers April 6, 2020 at 10:03 pm

          Thank you so much Rian 😊

  • Reply Kirsten Ott April 4, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    Hi Heather
    Love this Spaza Shop Challenge. I’d like to send money to your PayPal please, as living in the UK. Could you please send me the details?

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2020 at 10:18 pm

      Great! Sending you an email now.

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