Laura Hunter is a honours in journalism student at Wits University. This is her life in lockdown.
The following photographs were taken at my home in Johannesburg, Gauteng. This photo-essay, which I simply titled, Keeping busy, aims to show the day-to-day habits and rituals of myself and my family’s life during the lockdown. As a student journalist for the Wits Vuvuzela, it has been incredibly important for me to stay in touch with what is happening in our country during the coronavirus pandemic, but it has been equally as important to document what has been happening inside my home.
In an attempt to slow the outbreak of coronavirus, South Africans have been ordered to stay at home under a national lockdown from Thursday, March 26 to the end of April. Social distancing has wreaked havoc on my daily routine and to remain somewhat sane, each one of my family members, including myself, makes an effort to keep busy.
My grandmother’s armchair is one of my most cherished heirlooms. Placed perfectly next to my bedroom window, it provides a sense of steadiness in the midst of a global pandemic. I am not a so-called ‘homebody.’ I have always celebrated my independence and now that it is gone, I feel the world shrink from inside my home. Needless to say, this lockdown has stifled me and made me throw myself back into reading.
Reading was a hobby I picked up from my mother, Colleen (50), but she does not fill her time up the same way. Running her business online was something she never planned for, but with no choice, she continues via Zoom and WhatsApp. “I feel isolated and that I don’t have my fingers on all the pulses” she says.
My stepdad, Anthony (60), received his first electric guitar, in 2016, from my mother and has yet to write an actual song. He does, however, revel in charming the neighbours with every tweak on his guitar. We often close the doors when he begins to play, but when he calls out, “Come sing for me”, he always cuts through the dreary atmosphere.
In her own bubble, smoking an e-cigarette, the last thing on my grandmother’s mind is catching coronavirus. June (80), an avid gardener, is most upset about the nursery being closed. She keeps herself busy doing crosswords but the lockdown has made her angsty, “I wish I could just do my normal thing again” she tells me.
My brother, Matthew (18), is an austere gamer. In his first year at Wits university, studying digital arts, he is not fazed about being stuck at home. When I asked him if he was worried about the implications the lockdown may have on his degree, he shot back, “It’s nice to not worry about going to varsity, I can do a lot more of my own things now.”
Everybody has reacted differently to the lockdown, yet we all know the importance of keeping busy and creating new daily routines.
FEATURED IMAGE: Reading in my grandmothers armchair is how I keep busy during the lockdown. Photo: Laura Hunter
- Wits Vuvuzela, SLICE: Locked down with my anxieties, April 2020.
- Wits Vuvuzela, COVID-19: Lockdown through the lens of Yeshiel Panchia, April 2020.
- Wits Vuvuzela, COVID-19: Lockdown loneliness, April 2020.