‘Life in lockdown made me rethink my privilege’

Kim Abrahams. (Photo: Instagram/@kimmy_abrahams)
Kim Abrahams. (Photo: Instagram/@kimmy_abrahams)

As I write this, the country finds itself in the fourth week of the nationwide lockdown, with the likelihood of an extension.

It’s frustrating, I’m not going to lie. Friends and I have complained almost daily of our desire to see each other, planning what our first outing will be once we’re finally set free.

Wishful thinking?

Totally. But if it weren’t for the escape my wild imagination offers, I’d go insane.

Yet, if anything, lockdown has made me rethink my understanding of the word privileged.

I was born into a middle-class family.

While we weren’t spoilt, my sister and I never lacked anything and if my parents ever struggled making ends meet, they did a pretty good job of hiding it from us.

I also don’t live in an affluent area, so poverty isn’t some far-fetched concept I only ever make acquaintance with through the media. I only need to go as far as my doorstep to see it.

I’ve never regarded myself as privileged – in the “woke” sense of the word.

I still don’t.

But the unprecedented reality our country finds itself in has opened my eyes to blessings I too often overlooked previously.

If you’ve never gone to bed hungry once during the lockdown, worried where the next day’s meal would come from or had to face the possibility of retrenchment, you’re blessed beyond belief.

During the first two weeks, I was overcome with an incredible amount of guilt each time we’d sit around a heavy-laden table to eat.

I also second-guessed clicking the “post” button on that Instagram picture that displayed the latest dish I whipped up.

Things I never paid much mind to before.

But here I was, enjoying a meal while others were lacking. Posting my privilege without the thought that maybe one of my followers or friends were silently suffering. 

I eased my conscious with regular donations to a feeding scheme started by a friend’s church and decided to be more mindful of what I share online. Consider it unnecessary but now, more than ever, it’s important to be sensitive to the times.

Lockdown has enforced newfound gratitude for my job, my salary I once deemed pittance, having cupboards filled with food and a safe home that’s comfortable to dwell in.

Sure, I’d love to get rid of the peach fuzz chilling on my top lip or the split ends ruining my mane. There’s the chemical peel my face is in dire need of and the killer heels patiently waiting in my online shopping cart.

I miss my colleagues, the morning traffic (yes, I actually do), Sunday lunches with my extended family, those unexpected moments where a glance with a stranger turns into a warm smile.

But I also know that although we’re under strict division, we’ve never been more united.

I can’t wait to see how we emerge from this as a nation.  




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