Wits Vuvuzela student journalist, Dylan Bettencourt, reflects on his life in lockdown at his home in Johannesburg South.
As South Africa enters its eighth week of lockdown, it is fair that to say that for most of society, nothing is the same. My life is a shadow of what it was and these photos taken in the safety of my own home tell the story about how my life got twisted upside down.
Lockdown has had, without a doubt, its positives and negatives. I mean staying at home is something I have always enjoyed, before it stopped being a matter of choice. The first few weeks were great because I felt I had deserved a break, but after a couple of weeks, reality set in.
Music definitely helps me calm my nerves and simply feel more positive as well as get my creative juices flowing with a mixture of hip-hop of all different types and all different kinds of places!
Adapting to certain opportunities that I could not do before lockdown and reacting to more responsibilities I now have due to the same principal; lockdown is here to stay, and my life might never be the same again.
Proud of you
Being stuck at home, watching the hours pass as if they were minutes made me think, should I do something I have never done? So, I took that opportunity and decided to spend time every day just sitting in nature, clearing my thoughts, and calming my soul. The rush of our daily lives can often mean we leave our peace behind and lockdown has shown me that there is little that is more important than being at peace.
One of the benefits of doing this is an increase in my motivation which has a ripple effect on my productivity and mental health.
Can I kick it?
Yes, well, kind of. The restrictions we face have meant we are obliged to remain indoors to prevent the spread of covid-19, which means my shoes have probably forgotten about me at this point.
As much as I would consider myself an introvert, I do miss going outside and being social. Going outside really feels like a break from your surroundings and responsibilities, but now we remain stuck in the place that creates our need to go outside in the first place.
One of my favourite possessions, my recently purchased Air Jordan 1 shoes, is one of the things I have not been able to wear much. I find myself itching to find that perfect outfit to pair them with and put on a show for myself.
The definition of normal is somewhat ambiguous and something I have never come to terms with, but personally, I am missing this element of normal in my life. The normal routine of going to campus, working out at the gym, watching series on the couch and spending the weekends playing football and spending time with all my friends.
Just hanging out with friends was, and is, super important to me. To get away from the stress of reality and escape into the world of no problems, no stress, just being myself without anxiety among people who understand me. This image shows the environment myself and my friends found ourselves in before the pandemic hit us like a truck as well as the environment behind, empty as I find myself sometimes wondering what it feels like to be around my friends again and if I will experience that in the near future.
I have lost that sense of what it means to be surrounded by those I cherish the most but I am confident and positive that before we know it, things will go back to the way they were.
Diamonds are forever
An element of my life that always made me feel like I was on top of things was definitely getting dressed up, never to prove anything to anyone but myself because it made me happy to look and feel confident. This is tough to do during lockdown but every time I am feeling a little blue, I find myself getting dressed up to sit behind my laptop all day and that is okay because any motivation I can get is valuable at this stage of the pandemic. Outfits and the accessories that go with them are incredibly powerful for making me feel like I am in control of what happens next.
These are a few of my accessories that I have been collecting of late to improve my closet. Shops being closed and the need to save during this time has meant I have put a stop to the collecting for now but I will be out there searching for more soon!
Every step I take, every move I make, I’ll be missing you! Football is definitely a central point in my life. I play football, I coach football and the rest of the time, I am watching football – I like to think of it as a healthy obsession, right?
This was me playing with the ball. It helps me reminisce about times before lockdown began, when football was my go-to for just about everything. Playing with the ball every so often really helps fill the void of being without sport. Being without these aspects has without a doubt taken its toll on me because more than anything, football felt like I belonged, it made me feel safe and allowed me to be myself on the field. My whole life has been focused on sport and my dream was and remains to be involved in the sporting world, by whatever means.
Being without something that took up so much of my time is still difficult to deal with, but the lockdown has provided me with added empathy, knowing that the majority of the world is going through something of similar sorts.
Can’t knock the hustle
I think everybody can agree that the lockdown has given us a lot more work to deal with as everybody who has authority over us believes that we have all the time on our hands, which I understand.
This is where another positive arises in the fact that although online learning has been difficult, in my case, I have found this situation to be more manageable than face-to-face learning, simply because I do in fact have more time because everything that took up a lot of my time is not there anymore, between spending hours in traffic and hours in the gym – I have more time to cope with my studies and ensure that I handle this year with the attention it needs.
This image shows where I spend most of my days, behind the screen, doing most of what I do. Before the lockdown I made sure I had a routine for myself, specific hours doing certain things but I think I speak for most in saying that has gone out the window and now my routine comprises several hours working and repeating until it is time to get some sleep!
FEATURED IMAGE: I watch life change right in front of me, thinking nothing is the same. Photo: Dylan Bettencourt.
- Wits Vuvuzela, LIFE IN LOCKDOWN PHOTOESSAY: Table manners in the time of covid-19, May 2020.
- Wits Vuvuzela, LIFE IN LOCKDOWN PHOTO ESSAY: Our new normal in Khayelitsha, May 2020.
- Wits Vuvuzela, LIFE IN LOCKDOWN PHOTO ESSAY: Mood Swings, May 2020.