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Learning Under Lockdown - Remember That?!

At the start of 2020, learners all over South Africa prepared excitedly for school tours, plays, matric dances and the like. And then suddenly – lockdown. From Umhlanga to Uitenhage to Upington, there isn’t any school or learner in South Africa that wasn’t radically impacted by the COVID-19 Lockdown. This meant schooling from home. Here are 5 quotes from young South Africans reminding us of what it was like to learn under lockdown*:

  1. “My personal motto during the lockdown is definitely ‘think positive and test negative’”

Caleb Williams, GP (15)

  1. “My biggest challenges were worry and focus. During this period, I couldn’t help but feel worried and ponder on all the ‘what ifs’. This led to me losing interest in my schoolwork, because I felt that there was no use to do it if we’re dying soon anyway. After a while, however, I realised that whether it be now or later I’m still going to die. So I decided to go back to working The downside in all this was that when I decided to go back to working, everything was just a huge pile. Being behind really discouraged me, but as always my parents weremy biggest support.”

Buhlebenkosi Mthimunye, FS (16)

  1. “It’s ironic because we are not allowed to use our phones in the classroom. Now we have to learn with our smartphones, and that is certainly a new exciting experience for us”

Lamarr Banjo, MP (15)

  1. “It was not easy for my school to shift online. My Maths teacher has gone above and beyond her requirements in ensuring that we stayed on syllabus. She sent out short video lessons

daily on our class WhatsApp group. At times when I couldn’t concentrate on the work, her jokes about superheroes jumping on the Cartesian plane got me into the study mood again.”

Dhipika Sharma Maharaj, KZN (15) 

  1. “I am excited to go back, but things will be different. No more moms coming into the school, no more moving classes, temperatures being taken every day, a

decontamination tunnel and, worst of all, no sitting next to our friends. Things will be

different again but I will adapt as before. The question everyone is asking these days

is: “Is the world ever going to be the same again?”. What they should be asking

though is: are we ready to change?”.

Abigail Benfield, GP (13)


*As taken from Jansen, J. and O’Ryan, E. (2020). Learning under Lockdown: Voices of South Africa’s Children. Cape Town: CNA Publishers.