‘Eish, this Covid-19 and lockdown . . .’

2020-05-14 06:02
Vuyani Yako, pump attendant at Penford Convenience Centre.                                  Photo:HEILIE COMBRINCK

Vuyani Yako, pump attendant at Penford Convenience Centre. Photo:HEILIE COMBRINCK

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“LIFE is not the same anymore.”

For the past 13 years Vuyani Yako has been a pump attendant at Penford Convenience Centre in Uitenhage. Being on duty during the Covid-19 lockdown level five period, was an experience he has never thought would happen in his lifetime. Nor did he think that what once was normal, would not be anymore.

Eish, this Covid-19 and lockdown are terrible. One has heard about catastrophes happening in other countries and we know of the HIV pandemic in our country, but we have never ever thought that something like this would happen even here in Uitenhage,” said Yako who also is a supervisor at the fuelling court.

He is known for his enthusiastic way in performing his duties. With an Engen beanie covering his dreads and his friendliness, refuelling always came with a quick chit-chat package. Now his smile is covered with a mask and social distancing has changed the interaction.

“But we must talk about this Covid-19. People must know they have to wear a mask, wash their hands, sanitize and keep their social distance. We do not know who is infected, so we all must be very cautious.”

Yako was on duty during level five and said business was very quiet owing to people staying home.

“It was killing me. The fewer the customers the fewer the tips. For some of us, tips mean a lot as it helps with things like paying bus or taxi fares.”

Yako, a talented singer and a member of the Umlilo band in KwaNobuhle, said he is a firm believer and trusts God in this very unfortunate time of Covid-19 pandemic.

“I like my job and am not afraid of Covid-19. I do what I must do. I like Jesus very, very much and trust in His protection of me.”

In refuelling his immune system, Yako sticks to a homemade healthy drink he mixes.

“I take a little bit of ginger, lemon, garlic and cayenne pepper and mix it with two litres of water. Then I take just half a cup every morning. This is number one to boost your immune system,” said Yako.

Louisa Myburgh, one of the managers at Penford Convenience Centre, said it is amazing how the customers adhere to the Covid-19 lockdown precautions by sanitizing their hands, wearing their masks and keeping a safe distance inside the shop.

“Since level 4 kicked in, it is a totally different scenario in the shop with many more customers visiting the shop. The same applies to the fuel pumps. Figures showed that during lockdown level five, far fewer vehicles were refuelled.”

“Sadly for our fast food lovers, the Debonairs-, Steers- and Fishaway outlets are still closed because we do not deliver, but we sell pies and the Woolworths section is open and very popular,” said Myburgh.


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