14-year-old Zenande Mndini is one of many young people experiencing challenges since the outbreak of the pandemic. A participant in our Child and Youth Development Programme, Zenande stays with her mother and four siblings in Mfuleni, Western Cape. Her mother and 22-year-old older sister, Asemahle Mndini, are the family’s breadwinners.
“There was no form of entertainment and I was bored because schools, churches and the centre was closed,” Zenande said, when asked about life under lockdown. “I would call my friends to come to my house and we would do nothing the whole day. Some of the challenges of being stuck at home is that you run out of things to do and end up getting in trouble. Some of the things that affected my friends and I during the lockdown include getting in trouble with the police. We couldn’t go to the Spaza shops to buy chips/sweets because the police would tell us to go home.”
Zenande’s family as a whole was affected by the pandemic as her sister Asemahle had lost her job. This meant they could no longer afford the essentials or send money and/or groceries to other family members in the Eastern Cape. Zenande’s mother also looked after two children at their home, an activity she was paid for on a monthly basis. However, this was discontinued because the children’s parent lost their job due to the economic strains of the pandemic. For Zenande’s family, this meant there would be even less income to sustain them from month to month.
In due course, Asemahle found a job and was able to provide for her family again. What made things even better for the family was the food parcels they received from Afrika Tikkun. “Afrika Tikkun played a big role, if not the biggest in making sure that my family and I have food to eat,” Zenande said. “They did not only help me and my family but families in the community as well. I am happy they could help because many families lost jobs during the lockdown.”
When schools, churches and the centre started operating again, Zenande was excited to live her ‘normal’ life again. “I am happy to be back in school and thereafter come to Afrika Tikkun because I missed the daily sessions and activities we used to do before the pandemic erupted,” she said.