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SA’s rural communities: We are afraid of coronavirus

This week Eyewitness News is casting light on how rural communities are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For some people living in rural seclusion, it is near impossible that they will see anyone else, which can insulate them from catching coronavirus. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

NORTH WEST - As anxiety over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continued to grip South Africans, rural communities have expressed their own concerns about the virus.

Parents in villages pleaded with their children who lived near major cities to stay clear of the streets and follow the rules of the national lockdown. This as most in such communities enjoyed more protection due to their remoteness as opposed to those in other settings.

What you need to know should you test positive for COVID-19

“We’ll just have to bury them” – these were the chilling words of a mother in Diteneng in the North West as Friedah Maswanganye cautioned her children based in Tembisa and Pretoria, respectively, to stay home.

“They’ll have to stay there. I have a son in Tembisa and we fear for them. He is a man, he’ll have to do the right thing or we’ll have to bury them,” Maswanganye said.

Along the way from Diteneng, we meet 38-year-old Robert Msimang.

Seemingly relaxed, Msimang who lives in Malerato near Lethlabile in the North West, explained that while the seclusion of their communities increased their chances of surviving the virus, there were socio-economic challenges that could expose people.

“We are afraid. We are worried we could get it because people don’t seem afraid of it. Every day they queue for food at Shoprite and want to stockpile.

“What happens when someone shows up and is sick? Now we will all be sick,” Msimang said.

The downside for the rural areas is the lack of access to major shopping centres, with people forced to rely on one supermarket in most cases, as in the case of Klipgat where many from Msimang’s community shop.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.