Column: Be kind to amagoduka, you don't know what they've been through this year

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Let's be kind to each other as we head towards the festive season.
Let's be kind to each other as we head towards the festive season.
Misha Jordaan

It’s that time of the year. The time when our cars are being serviced, we’ve picked our travel day and we are just counting the days and hours until we can head home.

Even though the coronavirus has changed things and some won’t be going home, a lot of people will be heading back to their Eastern Cape, their KwaZulu Natal, their Limpopo or their North West in a bid to get a bit of rest and relaxation.

It’s a time to catch up with family and all those friends who’ve found jobs and made lives either in their home towns or in other areas.

But there’s one thing we need to keep in mind this year. The people who are coming home this December are not the same people who left in January or Easter, if they managed to travel home in hard lockdown.

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These are people who’ve now lost their jobs or had their hours cut because of the pandemic, just like you. This means they won’t be able to ‘deck the tables’ at the local tavern like they would have in previous years.

They won’t be able to be the community blesser and might not even have a R5 to spare for the corner boys because they’ve spent everything they have just to come home.

Be kind and if you can, buy them a cooldrink to let them know you see them.

These are people who have lost family and friends and colleagues to the relentless corona and are suffering from so much post traumatic stress that they might even forget to greet when they walk past, which can be a cardinal sin in the townships.

Forgive them, abenzi ngabom [they are not ignoring you on purpose].

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These are people who’ve had to scale down their lives and have had their cars repossessed or have moved into a smaller place to make ends meet. They might rock up in the area dropped off by a taxi or driving a smaller car.

When you see them, greet and move on. Don’t expect an explanation for something that is essentially none of your business.

 These are people who have been stuck in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, George, Humansdorp, Pretoria, East London, King and every other town that’s not home since lockdown. They’ve been so worried about their parents, grandparents, siblings and neighbours at home but because of finances, corona fears and various other reasons, they haven’t been able to come home till now.

So when they say they can’t hang out, or meet even for a socially distanced drink, abaphakamanga [they are not being snobs], they just want to spend time at home and allay their fears.

So as we finish 2020 and head towards 2021, let’s be kind. You don’t have to know what someone is going through, or even if they are going through something.

Just be kind.  

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