'Primary school dropouts': Single mom shares her lockdown struggles

(Prostock-Studio/Getty Images)
(Prostock-Studio/Getty Images)

The Covid-19 pandemic has placed an even heavier burden on the shoulders of South Africans, who, as this single mom puts it, were already struggling to keep their families afloat. 

In a letter to Parent24, she shares just home much the pandemic has thrown their lives off course, from losing her business and home to the uncertainty she faces with moving her kids to a new school. 

Read her touching letter below. 

The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown has had a devastating effect on both the economy and parents.

We have lost our sources of income, and many are struggling to feed their families. 

The reality inside our homes isn't pretty. 

I am a single mother of two and also living with my little brother and sister. 

I was retrenched in October 2019, and already it was hard enough trying to keep afloat with raising these kids. 

The backlash of not having an income and being in lockdown has led to an inability to continue living in Nelspruit as I can no longer afford rent. 

My tiny business died immediately when the lockdown started, and I am forced to move back home in Lydenburg after the lockdown is lifted. 

I'm only able to live in my current home because evictions are not permitted during lockdown. 

This means I need to find new schools for my son (Grade 7) and little brother (Grade 10). 

With everyone so focused on the health implications, I am worried that alternative schools will not accept new children. 

What kind of support does the department offer for parents whose livelihood has been adversely affected by the lockdown? 

Private schools do not take kindly to nonpayment of fees, and they will not take some kids back. 

Will we be allowed to move our kids to other towns? If so, what documents do I need? Will those schools accept our kids without risking overcrowding?

What measures will the department put into place to ensure that no child gets left out? 

There is so little guidance from the Department of Basic Education, I tried asking a principal, and they honestly did not know how to answer me.  

I am worried that by the end of June we'll need to start applications to high school for Grade 8, how do we go about that? 

The government's urgency to re-open schools considers sanitation precautions and psychological issues only.

Many families, including mine, have been crippled by other factors which directly impact our children. 

We will be scurrying trying to find a way to make ends meet, keep our children alive and fight the system.

We literally only got a week, no clear guidance, and don't get me started on lockdown restrictions making it difficult to travel up and down trying to prepare for taking our kids back to school or finding new schools.  

How does the minister make such a decision and expect us to make living sacrifices with our children by sending them back to an unsure, untested, untrained Covid-19 school system during a pandemic without a cure? 

We want the best for our kids, and if we don't send them back to school, we are playing with their future. 

If we do, we entrust them to an education department that can't even deliver textbooks sometimes even to an entire classroom building on time and hope they don't get infected or even die. 

In the end, I will probably have to sit by and hope my kids do not become primary school dropouts. 


Taetso, Parent to four

How has lockdown impacted your family?

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