Operation Oysterhood: 4 April

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

From midnight South Africa will no longer be in a state of disaster. Some transitional regulations will remain in place before we are solely guided during the remainder of the pandemic in terms of the National Health Act.

750 days since the state of disaster was declared. 738 since the lockdown began. It all ends tonight, apart from the pandemic.

And completely coincidently, I am home alone again. My love is back at his place, and my lovely houseguest is on a flight to Europe (she no longer required a PCR test to board the plane home).

Not an ordinary Monday.

But after weeks of no shows or delayed appearances, the refuse truck was back on time this morning. And, as for the past thirteen weeks, I went to see Joanne to write with her today – and three other writers; our group is growing – again. My memoir is growing, too. And as I go along, it is all falling into place. I am encountering challenges every week, but every week solutions present themselves alongside the challenges and I am soldiering on. It is an intellectual, creative and emotionally volatile battle field.

I did some research about Carlos Alcaraz Garfia’s historic Miami Open win, and while reading up on it, I came across a former tennis player I really enjoyed watching on court before he retired from the sport a while ago: Alexandr Dolgopolov, who was born in Kyiv and returned to Ukraine now during the war. I clicked on his social media accounts and saw his outrage and despair. He mentioned the five Ukrainian women who were raped and murdered by Russian soldiers. I do not know why since the war in Ukraine started I – totally naively – did not think of one of the oldest weapons of war. I should have known that rape would become part of this horrific story, but Alexandr’s brief mention of the crime caught me unawares. And all day today, no matter what else was happening, I have been walking around feeling wounded. Writing about violation only exacerbated the feeling of helplessness, and disconnect. I know women are raped all around me, every day, relentlessly. Yet, there’s something about the layers of trauma – loss of control and narrative – that a madman, a war, displacement and all imaginable violations of human dignity, integrity and freedom bring into one’s life, no matter how distant, that are beyond grasp. That wound.

I am grappling to find words to articulate the horror, even though I am writing from my relatively safe space, my home. Surrounded by love, purrs and kindness. I understand that my words change nothing. I am just grateful. I am still here. I’ve survived the pandemic. No soldier is knocking on my door. I will never take that for granted.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please. Live.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”


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