Monday in Grahamstown – Lockdown Day 4
For those looking for upliftment and sugar coating of the Covid-19 crisis, please skip to the last paragraph. Realists read on.

In last week’s letter I noted there were 402 Covid-19 cases in South Africa. There are now 1,280. The rate of infection is tracking that of the UK with the number of cases doubling every third day. Refer graph compiled by Filippo Faralla.

Expect an exponential explosion in the next week. Next Monday there will be +5,000 cases. By Day 21 of doubling every third day there will be +40,000 cases. The bad news is that it’s unlikely the Lockdown measures will flatten the curve. That is, bring the rate of infection down to doubling every 4th day, 5th day etc etc and eventually decreasing total cases.
Lockdown means lockdown. Not carrying on as normal as is the case in many parts of Grahamstown. Expect an extension to Lockdown. My thoughts with those unable to practically Lockdown but we all have (unless privileged with heaps of cash, freezer space and a PhD equivalent in planning) the occasional need to go to the shops. We ran that gauntlet last evening and it was a top-10 life-time scariest experience. On a par with parachuting minus the adrenaline rush. To make matters worse, my bank “disabled” my credit card and we had to return home for a substitute payment instrument.
The situation to the north is dire. You’ll notice those Covid-19 World Map Apps exclude Zimbabwe. It’s there, but as a black hole. ZanuPF’s selfish abuse of their people coming home (again) to roost. We’ll never know how many cases and deaths Covid-19 wrecks upon Zim. People will die in droves in hospital queues and isolated huts. On the positive side (if there is one) Zim – as the worst equiped nation on earth to deal with this crisis – will reach “herd immunity” faster than anyone. Their hospitals won’t collapse under the strain. There is nothing to collapse. Citizens are better off going to church (alone) to recover from Covid-19.
The SA Government response to Covid-19 has been excellent. A little late but one can’t shut down a country overnight. I’m surprised there’s not more Police and Military presence. No arrests in Grahamstown as far as I’m aware. Lack of capacity or simply turning a blind eye. But why? I witnessed a police car blindly drive past 4 people on a donkey cart.
The whole point of Lockdown is to manage the impact on hospitals. Herd immunity still has to be reached. Lockdown simply extends the time period. It’s not known how many people in a community need to have immunity (i.e. had Covid-19 and recovered inoculated) before herd immunity is reached but Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize’s prediction that between 60% and 70% of South Africans will contract Covid-19 is telling, not to mention chilling. Repeat. Expect an extension to Lockdown.

Life here in Grahamstown – as the world over – is changed forever. In the short-term Lockdown is going to enter a new phase when people get sick. Still no confirmed cases here but it’s not helpful hoping it will miraculously bypass us. Lockdown will increasingly be taken more seriously. People will think twice before strolling off to the shops. In my case, I’ll be using the services of my mate,

Luke Ashwell Beckmann and his “Chariots” business who do “Store to Door” grocery delivery. WhatsApp Luke on 072 238 5683.
Otherwise, and I acknowledge the privilege, we are enjoying Lockdown. The opportunity (and time) to get fit, revisit hobbies and upskill in the handyman department. I chased my wife around the house and garden this morning. We clocked about 2.4km’s and then, after a good stretch of proper work, I achieved a life-time first by jimmying open a jammed door handle. On Saturday I chopped wood and Sunday mowed the lawn. Followed that up with a tall G&T (we definitely going to run out) and passed a pleasant hour observing a Praying Mantis that Locked down on an old DSG basher.
I’m also taking great pride in my EcoBrick production line. A challenge. Who can make the most 600g EcoBricks during Lockdown! And a prize – a thousand TGP points – for the heaviest one!
Best wishes to you all. Stay Safe.


Before moving back to Grahamstown in Oct 2017, Graeme was a bank executive based in the big smoke and craziness of Joburg. He has 20 years’ experience in the Payments Industry. He is a Chartered Accountant, has a Masters in Management by Research (MMR) from Wits Business School, and attended an Advanced Management Programme (AMP) offered by INSEAD (The Business School for the World!) in France.  

Graeme is the founder of The Grahamstown Project. It’s simple. He says, “Grahamstown is a microcosm of South Africa. If we can’t get this place to function properly then the whole country is stuffed. Many of the troubles we experience as a country today have their roots here in Grahamstown. it is here where black and white people first engaged in conflict on the African continent. It is here where 9 wars of dispossession over 100 years took place and virtually destroyed the amaXhosa nation. But we are where we are. I don’t have a British passport and the boat-trip back to where my ancestors came from is exorbitantly expensive. Furthermore, this is my home. I am a son of Africa. We must work together to redress the injustices of the past and move as one into a brighter future.”

Graeme is an avid historian, writer, vlogger and public speaker. Like and follow the Facebook page. Join him on a tour. Contact him. He would love that.