My Story: Kayla Nyamayoro

Aged 9 – a grade 4 learner at The Kusasa Project Early Learning Centre


I am Kayla and I live in Mooiwater, a community in Franschhoek. I live with my parents, my 4 year old little brother and my uncle. My older brother (he is 14) lives with my granny in Zimbabwe. My mom is very pregnant and soon we will have a little sister. Her name will be Kayleigh. My dad works in a hotel and my mom in a clothing shop, both in Franschhoek.

When the president said that we had to stay at home I was first excited but soon I found the lockdown was actually very scary. My parents followed the numbers of infected people in South Africa and that made me very sad. The scariest thing was that you couldn’t see the virus; you don’t know where it is. One day, helicopters flew above our houses and there were soldiers in our street. I ran as fast as I could to my house, it was super scary!

I stayed at home during the lockdown. We played a lot of board games, played blindfold and watched movies. I helped my dad to make a cot for the new baby, a ‘memory bed’, and a chicken “hok” [enclosure]. Some of my friends came to visit to bring me sweets but they only stayed at the gate. Only my uncle and aunt came inside the house when they visited.

The only times I left the house was to get food at the soup kitchens and to pick up food parcels and creativity packs at school. There was an activity for every day from my teacher and I did stick to this schedule. I had to wear a mask whenever I went out. It felt very soft and unusual. Some people did not wear masks. It was not nice to be scared. My heart was beating fast and it felt broken. People wanted to live long but they died.

I have been back at school for a couple of weeks now. My grade, grade 4, was the first grade to start school again. I was so excited to go back! It is so nice to see all the children and to do work again – and to see the teachers – I like school!  I do not always recognize the teachers. They all look the same with their masks on! That is a bit scary too. It is also weird to keep distance. The social distancing is actually the hardest. You don’t know if you are too close to your friends and also, we didn’t know how we were supposed to play. I was worried and stressed to get the virus.

Before the lockdown we used to play ‘On-on’ and ‘In die bof’ – when the one group tries to catch the other group and put them in jail (a soccer goal) and they have to try to get free again. And when it was raining we used to play “Simon says…” in the classrooms. Now we play “Drie stokkies” so we can keep distance from each other.

During the lockdown it was easier because you could protect yourself. Luckily I feel quite safe now because people tell if they have the virus. I don’t know anybody here who has the virus but my aunt in Zimbabwe was sick and I was sad for that.

We’re now on holiday. I really miss my teachers. I think that in one year from now it all will feel normal again. It will be normal to wear masks and we will be safe as there won’t be many people in the streets. And in 5 years time everything will be away. The virus and the lockdown felt very scary but that will be over then. I hope that my family can do all the fun things again that we did before the virus like going to the malls and to the beach.