by Steve Lunderstedt
Originally morse code for three dots (S) three dashes (O) three dots (S), the letters SOS are not an abbreviation for anything despite the phrase ‘Save our Souls’ being in popular usage. The phrase SOS is in general use today and indicates a need for action or a crisis.
SOS – internationally the recognised sign for an emergency, and we’re right in the middle of an emergency right now, are we not? No alcohol (until tomorrow), no nicotine, no golf, no live sport, no exercise out of hours, no golf, no pubs, no restaurants, no surfing, no walking on the beach. Did I mention no golf? And armed soldiers and police patrol our streets.
It is also the chosen sign for this column starting today by Steve Lunderstedt; a weekly look at what’s happening around us, what’s happening to us, and his thoughts on a variety of subjects connected to the emergency as well as to absolutely nothing at all.
The inaugural ‘Steve on Sunday’ today is a brief review of some of the highlights or lowlights of the first 60 days. It is going to be difficult for the ‘circus owners’ aka the ANC, to just give up power and control so expect the lockdown to continue for the second 60 days, the third 60, and perhaps even beyond. It could be a winter of great discontent.
The second, next Sunday shall reveal some hilarious moments from the personal experiences of Steve during the first 60 lockdown days, while the third on 14 June shall begin the exciting monotony of lockdown according to Steve – the week that was.
Steve hails from Umtali (now Mutare), was educated at Umtali Boys High School 1969 to 1973 although his teachers and school may argue this point, and has lived in Kimberley South Africa since June 1980. He is a sixth generation white African on his surname while on his paternal mother’s branch of the baobab tree he is a 12th generation descendant. Only place left on the continent to escape today is to Robben Island, and water sports are not permitted at the moment. He also has more than 35 publications to his name.
THE FIRST SIXTY DAYS
Thursday 26 March
“May you live in interesting times” – An old Chinese curse that appears to be coming true with the virus that has emanated from mainland China.
Friday 27 March
All quiet, very quiet. Cannot hear the traffic even. Is there any? Am hearing on the radio that supermarkets are inundated with people shopping. All children, and they say there were plenty, were told to go home. Only adults allowed to do shopping.
Sunday 29 March
The police have opened fire – 2 days running – on shoppers with rubber bullets. Danie Gerber has tested positive for the virus. I believe he was one of the Springboks at the rugby evening function not cancelled in Jan Kempdorp on Friday 20 March 2020.
Wednesday 1 April
Studied my limited selection of ties, of which I wear maybe one per year these days. Strange to reflect that when growing up in the 1960s and 1970s ties were used for school, church, meetings and even for going to movie houses in the evening if you were an adult. Had to google how to wash ties, only to learn that I must take them to a laundry. Charming. Best to not wear them.
Sunday 5 April
Twice within three days, a gang of no-gooders, numbering four in all, all young, two dressed well and two atrociously, have visited Klisserville, (where I am staying) with intent other than good will and Easter Blessings. Considering it is lockdown, any movement is noticeable, and with me in the garden in the middle to late afternoon I tend to see all foot traffic. These four stood out. They were in the immediate area and casing the houses.
Saturday 11 April
A day of recovery after the mighty storm that hit Kimberley in the late afternoon of Good Friday. And continued into the night. The original storm, boasting hail the size of golf balls, dropped some 55 mm in my area, other areas receiving up to 70 mm. Some 27 mm would fall afterwards.
It did destroy many homes in the informal settlements, took off roofs, and generally played havoc with the gardens of everyone. Trees and bushes were denuded.
Thursday 16 April
Yay! The last day of the three week lockdown!
Boo! Not anymore with lockdown extended another two weeks. It will, of course, be extended ad nauseum until at least August, or so the media is hinting.
Sunday 19 April
Imagine what Bill Murray went through while filming Ground Hog Day. Each day filming a repeat of the previous day with a few changes. The same music, same waking up, same, same. The same Director! The same camera crew! Hopefully the food was different on set because in the film it was the same…
Monday 20 April
No trains running either it appears, although I do hear the locomotive hooters at night so I know certain train drivers are supposedly working. Whether they have to, by law, sound their hooter every 20 minutes or so, I have no idea, but it appears so.
Thursday 23 April 2020
I think that today is Thursday. Not 100% sure but I believe it is. Had to think very carefully, working on the fact that the household refuse was removed yesterday which was Wednesday. So today is Thursday and tomorrow is Friday and then it is the weekend which means absolutely zilch. We each have our very own Ground Hog Day do we not!? I am of course an unpaid actor in this ongoing drama.
Monday 27 April 2020
What an achievement and who would ever have thought I could make it! Certainly not me. When I reached 50 I believed that this was probably the pinnacle, but oh no, on and upwards it went. Day after day…
Not my age, silly! Will never make that! It was, to me, the fine achievement of walking 100 kilometres around the Kalahari desert section of the garden. The walking was planned as I normally walk every day but I never had a target really, but I did know that 100 kilometres was close.
Tuesday 28 April
Back to the mundane today after the highlight of nearly breaking the Comrades marathon record yesterday. I do not have targets otherwise I would be forced to wear one of those watches – you know the watches I am talking about? The ones that runners keep on looking at and then press a button on it when they finish the race? Yip, that’s the one. Not getting one, so therefore no targets. If I wanted to get one, I could not anyway as watches and stop watches are deemed non-essential.
Thursday 30 April
A tent is not necessary in this circus. But if you wish for the circus to have a tent you may. In the ring there is a ringmaster. It is a ‘he’ and he dresses well and talks well and everyone laughs with him when he puts on a mask. He laughs too. But wait. What’s that? There are more than just that one ringmaster – he is merely the most eloquent speaker. (Other than Grace Naledi. I like Grace Naledi, she is very, very good at everything she does. That she is the grand-daughter of ZK has nothing to do with it. ZK grew up in Kimberley by the way). There are dozens and dozens of ringmasters, all well dressed as they should be. Some talk well, many do not. One even calls a ventilator a vibrator. He is funny. Some are boring, some are downright boring. But there are lots and lots of them. Lots. Really lots. I think they all get paid, these ringmasters.
Monday 4 May
Another day in the exciting life of yours truly scratched on to the wall of my jail cell. It is not a bad cell as cells go. Do you get good cells? Methinks I do! It has a comfortable bed with sheets, blankets and pillow, clean clothes available, a choice of shoes and slippers, a meal any time should one be needed, lots of non-alcoholic drinks available including coffee and cappuccino, a library of some 400 books, a laptop and PC, cellular phone and TV. There’s two windows that can be opened and closed, a lovely view, curtains that do block out the daylight should it be necessary, and a door that can be opened and closed at will. Close by are the ablutions with all you need!
I am allowed out of the cell any time night or day, can exercise in a yard and wave at those who are free the other side of the wall. They do not wave back. Why are they asking me, an inmate of the jail, for food and money? Do they not know I am the one being punished?
Saturday 9 May
Modern day Wednesdays, other than refuse bag pick up where I live is for many the middle of the week with going out to a bar/restaurant/tavern after work for not only a meal but several fortified beverages. And then sort of stagger home from 9pm onwards…
Not today under Lockdown and Curfew, and I seriously doubt whether restaurants will be open at any time in the foreseeable future. I cannot recall what level they can open be it 2 or 1, but with us in South Africa still on Level 4 it is certainly not going to be before August/September. Those are the months the ‘experts’ are advising that South Africa will hit its peak pandemic wise. (And we are going to open the schools very soon, oh my oh my oh my).
Wednesday 13 May
I did the usual Wednesday stuff, which in fact is the same as the stuff I do on any other day because all days are the same now.
The sun came up which is always a good start to the day. The thrushes, used to yodelling to all and sundry to get up at 03h00 during the peak summer months, are sleeping in a bit longer as winter approaches, only beginning to crow these days at around 04h30.
Tuesday 19 May
Good Day my Fellow Bundles of Joy. I do hope that you are all settled now with the ‘new’ normal – masks on in public, washing your hands every few seconds, gargling with TCP, standing a kilometre from your/the soulmate/friend/ partner/cashier/salesman/etc, waving a hello and goodbye, little or no sport on TV, repeats on TV, and so on and so forth. Does TCP still exist? Must google that. I am aware that the ‘new’ normal can and will change from time to time but as we have been advised, many ‘things’ will be with us for some time to come. Two to three years, it is said.
Friday 22 May
The majority of South Africans, except for the 2000 who forced Adolphina Hitler to overule Cyril Ramaphosa’s “you can buy smokes from 1 May”, have been anticipating that as from 1 June (2020) you shall be able to purchase alcohol and cigarettes. The rate we’re going at in this land, oh cry the beloved country, and the way the Command Council loves the power and control, this is not going to happen this year. And possibly not even next year. Josef Stalin would be delighted. Those who speak Mandarin as their first choice language will also be very happy.
Saturday 23 May
The wicked stooges Adolphina Hitler, Beckie Stalin and Cyrilini Mussolini do keep threatening one thing or another about nicotine and alcohol and even having a smoke in your own car is likely to see you stopped and put through an inquisition about where and when you purchased the cigarette. It is hard to believe this, but all you have to do is google these stories and voila, there it is! It is true. They live amongst us.