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 13 and I’m bored. I’m bored, okay? There I said it.

Lockdown photo Day 13: Knitting for beginners.

At the beginning of the lockdown there was so much to adjust to — so much thinking, so much worrying, so much checking in, so much reading and writing, so much inventing of new routines. Now we’re almost two weeks in and there’s just…not much to do.

Even South African news is boring. Today’s top story is about South African Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who was caught on Instagram breaking the lockdown rules over the weekend. (She had lunch at a friend’s house.) Yes, I get that her transgression was serious, especially as a member of the cabinet. But the fact that this is the biggest news today, as opposed to news about the actual impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown, is perhaps indicative of the whole country’s ennui.

I want to say something about South Africa’s COVID-19 stats. Obviously I’m not an epidemiologist or a statistician so I don’t really understand what the numbers mean. But since the lockdown started, the increase of new COVID-19 cases and deaths in South Africa has been extremely modest. As of yesterday there were 1749 confirmed cases (up 63 from the previous day) and 13 deaths (up one from the previous day).

For more than a week, people have been saying this is probably the “calm before the storm” (to quote the South African Minister of Health) — that it’s just a matter of time before we see a big spike in cases. That hasn’t happened yet though, and I can’t help but feel hopeful about it.

So now the big question is whether or not the lockdown will be extended. The answer is no one knows yet, not even the president himself. I certainly don’t envy the people responsible for making that decision.

In the meantime, I finally have time to work on my knitting. My friend Fiver, an expert knitter, taught me the basics a couple of months ago, long before we were thinking about COVID-19. Learning to knit was kind of a New Years resolution for me — a new hobby forcing me to use my hands and not stare at my phone all evening. Now this hobby is coming in more handy than I could have imagined.

Earlier this evening I knitted while watching today’s WildEarth game drive, which was very enjoyable. I’m not very good yet — I really only know how to knit in a straight line. But I’m hopeful this messy rectangle will eventually be long enough to make a short scarf or cowl.

Messy knitting
My messy rectangle of knitting.

Before we close, I have some recommended reading and listening for you:

To read: I wrote an article about amateur stargazing. I know absolutely nothing about stargazing and don’t even own a pair of binoculars, but that’s the point. Now is a great time to learn. I actually meant to tell you about this yesterday when there was a super moon, but I forgot.

To listen: 99% Invisible, one of my favorite podcasts, put out an excellent episode about the history of toilet paper and what this now-precious commodity means to us as human beings. It’s a bit U.S.-centric, as most podcasts are, but I found it completely riveting.

Today’s Worthy Cause

I have blogged about Dlala Nje, a social enterprise based in Ponte City, many times. Dlala Nje hosts walking tours of Ponte City and surrounds (among other things) but also runs a fantastic youth program benefitting hundreds of kids in the Joburg inner city.

Kids walking home from school on Pretoria Street in Hillbrow
Photo I took a few years ago on a Dlala Nje walking tour in Hillbrow.

Dlala Nje normally supports itself through income generated from their tours and other events, but all of that is on hold now. So they’ve started a fundraising campaign to keep themselves afloat. Help them out if you can.

Until tomorrow.

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