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Nuut: Hou jou oë oop – Brian Fredericks

Jy is ’n nice ou. Maar jy moet jou oë oopmaak en die reality begin sien. Dit gaan nie net oor môre nie. Dit gaan ook oor vandag en gister.

Ricardo woon in Kewtown saam sy ma, ouer broer, Anton, en sussie, Tracy, wat deurmekaar is met die gangster van die blokke, Capone. Al wat Ricardo begeer is om te gaan swot en iets te maak van sy lewe, maar eers moet hy genoeg geld maak om te kan oorleef.

            Ná ’n geskietery tydens die skoolboikotte in 1985 waarin beide Anton en sy ma gewond is, besluit sy broer om by die MK aan te sluit. Voor Ricardo sy oë uitvee, is beide sy ma en broer oorlede, en eindig hy op in ’n wendyhuis agter op Capone se jaart. Geen van sy drome het waar geword nie, en soos gewoonlik het hy geen sê in wat met hom gebeur nie.

            Hou jou oë wawyd oop, het sy Afrikaans-onnie almal destyds in die klas gewaarsku. Maar hoe moet hy maak, as hy nie eers vir sy girlfriend, Mentha, ’n bord warm kos kan aanbied of ’n Sealy Posturepedic vir hulle kan koop nie?

’n Meesleurende bildungsroman oor ’n jong man uit Kewtown, deur die bekroonde skrywer van As die Cape Flats kon praat.

Oor die skrywer

Brian Fredericks het in Elsiesrivier grootgeword. Hy was op skool in Elsiesrivier Hoër, en het verskeie sertifikaatkursusse voltooi in elektriese ingenieurswese by o.m. Northlink College.

            Brian doen vryskutskryfwerk. Hy is opgeneem in Nuwe Stories 2, die Woordfeesbundel Bly en Die nuwe Afrikaanse Prosaboek. Hy woon in Belhar.

 
 

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Nuut: Liefdesles – Vita du Preez

Vita du Preez se erotiese trilogie (Klaskamer, Skoolgeld en Liefdesles) is ʼn doelbewuste Afrikaanse kopknik in die rigting van Fifty Shades of Grey. Met Klaskamer (2019) wou Du Preez sien hoe die resep van E.L. James se topverkoper in Afrikaans sou lyk: ʼn liefdesverhouding tussen ʼn ryk, sjarmante man wat vertroud is met die wêreld van BDSM en ʼn jong, naïewe meisie wat ontvanklik vir dié nuwe kinkel in die liefdespel is. Alhoewel resensente gemengde gevoelens gehad het, was lesers se terugvoer deur die bank positief.

Skoolgeld volg in 2020. Met Liefdesles voltooi Vita du Preez haar erotiese trilogie oor die ongewone, verwikkelde ver­houding tussen Emma en haar Karooboer, Daniel Swart. Al die elemente van Klaskamer en Skoolgeld is steeds teenwoordig – Emma se geheue is vol gate sedert haar motorongeluk drie maande tevore, maar sy en Daniel het steeds ʼn onblusbare hunkering na mekaar – maar nou word hul storie na ʼn klimaks gevoer danksy die lesse wat die liefde ons leer.

Du Preez se trilogie is nie net genotvolle ontvlugting nie, maar kan ook beskou word as ʼn genotvolle les in BDSM vir die oningeligte leser. Keurders beskou dié boek as ʼn “hoogtepunt in Afrikaanse erotiek” weens die “emosionele reikwydte en genuanseerde besinning oor verhoudings – waaronder ook ouerskap.”

 
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Posted by op 13/05/2022 in Boeke, Lees, Skrywers

 

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Jeugboek: Jy handle dit net – Eleanor Lombard

Drikus voel soos God se afskeepkind. Hy kan nie rugby speel nie. Hy het nie veel maats nie. Hy verloor die skaaktoernooi. En dan is hy in ’n fietsongeluk en daar is nie geld om dit reg te maak nie. Wat nou? Hy besluit om worsbroodjies te begin verkoop om geld te maak, en toe ontmoet hy vir Donovan, ’n straatkind met ’n unieke uitkyk op die lewe. So begin ’n ongewone vriendskap wat al twee seuns se lewens onherroeplik verander.

 
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Posted by op 11/05/2022 in Afrikaans, Boeke, Lees, Skrywers

 

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Binnekort: Bot – Carien Smith

Alles is ’n leuen. Niks is ’n leuen nie.

Carien Smith is ’n skrywer en dramaturg wat verskeie pryse vir haar individuele verhale ingepalm het en deelgeneem het aan talle internasionale skryfprogramme. Verskeie van haar dramas is opgevoer. Tans is sy ’n doktorale student aan die Universiteit van Sheffield waar sy navorsing doen oor klimaatsveranderingetiek. Bot is haar kortverhaaldebuut.

In hierdie ambisieuse bundel word die leser op reis geneem. Na wêrelde van verstommende – dog onmiddellik herkenbare – tegnologiese vooruitgang. Waar bespiegeling en die magiese skouers skuur met die “alledaagse”. Waar waarheid en versinsel nie meer onderskeibaar is nie. Waar nuwe, onthutsende eksistensiële vrae opduik, en in gesprek tree met die oerbekende een: waar begin menswees, en waar eindig dit?

Bot is ’n verrassende, onderhoudende debuut wat ’n eiesoortige staanplek in die Afrikaanse verhalewêreld kry. Carien Smith is ’n skrywer van wie daar nog véél gehoor gaan word.

Oor die skrywer
Carien Smith is ’n skrywer en dramaturg wat verskeie pryse vir haar individuele verhale ingepalm het en deelgeneem het aan talle internasionale skryfprogramme. Verskeie van haar dramas is opgevoer. Tans is sy ’n doktorale student aan die Universiteit van Sheffield waar sy navorsing doen oor klimaatsveranderingetiek. Bot is haar kortverhaaldebuut.

 
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Posted by op 15/04/2022 in Afrikaans, Boeke, Lees, Skrywers

 

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Binnekort: Zanzibar Zen – Marnus Hattingh

Hierdie plek is ’n hool, dink die gaargebrande toeris in sy lendelam dhow. ’n Klap met sy houtspaan op die turkoois waters maak dat ’n sluimerende rog in ’n wolk sand na ander koraal gaan soek waar hy sy oggendrus kan voortsit.

Toe ’n nuuskierige toeris onseremonieel op sy dhow aan Zanzibar se kus vermoor word, reg oorkant waar Giorgio Comaneti sy blinknuwe Zanzibar Zen Casino bou, peul die vreemdste karakters uit die spesery-eiland se tropiese woud. Comaneti se rykman-speelplek gaan die helfte van die Jozani-woud – die bedreigde Colobus-apie se laaste toevlug – uitwis. Dis nou op die skouers van Toast le Roux, omgewingsjoernalis wat die dekadente Oos-Afrika-toerismekongres bywoon, om die stootskrapers betyds te stop.

En waarom soek Comaneti se handlangers, Tjokkie en Bozo, na die apie met die Lions-rugbykeps in sy hand?

Terwyl die eiland se onafhanklikheidstromme al harder dreun, is Toast in ’n stryd teen tyd gewikkel om bewyse van Comaneti se bose planne te vind. Jaagtogte op Vespas deur Stonetown se stegies en ’n dolle rit op Comaneti se superjag na Mafia-eiland bring hom nader aan ’n finale ontmoeting met die ontwikkelaar.

Maar Bozo is reeds op sy spoor. En hy wil net vriendelik met Toast gesels . . .

Oor die skrywer

Marnus Hattingh het sy skoolloopbaan in Bellville voltooi, en ’n MA in Hebreeus by Kovsies behaal. Hierna het hy ’n honneurs in Joernalistiek by Maties voltooi, en as beurshouer by Die Burger as verslaggewer begin werk. Vandag is hy die nasionale motorredakteur van Afrikaanse koerante. Zanzibar Zen is sy debuutroman. Hy woon op Pringlebaai. 

 
 

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Binnekort: Mara – Marida Fitzpatrick

Hoe is Viljoen dood? Die vraag voel oeroud, versteen onder lae en lae saamgeperste grond. ’n Klein fossiel, volmaak met al sy beentjies en werwels en oopgesperde bekkie. Sy’s te bang om daaraan te raak, te bang dit val uitmekaar en dan sal sy nooit weet wat dit eens was nie.

Oor net twee dinge is Rakie Bouwer seker: Haar broer is as kind dood, en sy moet uitvind hoe. Die soektog stuur haar op ver en donker paaie na haar verlede – waar familiegeheime dreigend lê en skuil.

Intussen daag haar tweelingsuster, Mara, ongenooid op en dompel haar verder in ’n maalkolk van vrees. Wat probeer Mara wegsteek, en hoekom?

Dan is daar De Wet, die getroude man wat teen sy eie beterwete by Rakie betrokke raak, en Rebecca, die Bouwers se destydse huishulp wat dalk die sleutel tot alles hou.

Terwyl Rakie desperaat na antwoorde soek, loop sy die gevaar om haarself te vernietig. Want uiteindelik is die heel skrikwekkendste vraag: Wat is gevaarliker as jou eie bloed?

“’n Boek wat jou aan die hart en aan die keel gryp.”
– Francois Smith

Oor die skrywer

Marida Fitzpatrick is ’n skrywer en bekroonde joernalis. Haar skryfwerk is al met verskeie pryse en benoemings vereer. Haar vorige roman is ook vir ’n ATKV-Woordveertjie benoem. Sy het ’n meestersgraad in kreatiewe skryfkuns en ’n honneursgraad in joernalistiek – beide met lof. Mara is haar derde roman. 

 
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Posted by op 09/04/2022 in Afrikaans, Boeke, Lees, Skrywers

 

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Binnekort: Die onsigbare pou – Zirk van den Berg

In die 1980’s verower die sanger genaamd Ober die Afrikaanse musiektoneel . . .

Hy leef daadkragtig, vra nie verskoning vir wat hy doen of wie hy is nie. Hy ontbloot sy diepste gedagtes, sy teerste gevoelens, deins nie terug vir kritiek nie. Want hy weet hy is nie die enigste wat hierdie dinge dink of voel nie; hy is die een wat die dinge wys wat ander mense wegsteek. Hy raak ons kampvegter, ons ideale self, ons gewete. En dan raak hy vergete.

Jare later belig sy vriend en agent, Sybie de Waal, Ober se lewensloop in ’n plakboek van woorde – van hulle skooldae af, deur die jare toe Obermania die publiek beetgepak het, tot die terreurdaad toe alles tot ’n einde kom.
            Die onsigbare pou is ’n verhaal van ambisie en kreatiwiteit, roem en anonimiteit, vriendskap en verraad. In Zirk van den Berg se pittige, poëtiese vertelstyl.

“’n Briljante Bellville-bromance met baie bagasie.”
– Deon Maas

“’n Meesterlike storieverteller-skrywer put hier uit die oorgangstyd in Suid-Afrika en Afrikaanse musiek met wortels agter die boereworsgordyn. Wat meer wil jy hê?”
– Ilza Roggeband

Oor die skrywer

Zirk van den Berg is in Namibië gebore, het grootgeword in Suid-Afrika, en woon nou in Nieu-Seeland. Hy debuteer met ’n kortverhaalbundel, Ekstra dun vir meer gevoel, en daarna ’n roman, Wydsbeen. Sedertdien verskyn sy romans in Afrikaans én Engels. Sy roman Ek wens, ek wens is met die WA Hofmeyr-prys asook twee KykNET-Rapportpryse bekroon.

 
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Posted by op 08/04/2022 in Boeke, Lees, Skrywers

 

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Binnekort: Johannes de Villiers – Meer as jou seerkry

Hoe gaan jy aan as jy beroof is van die lewe wat vir jou kosbaar was? Jy verloor jou werk, jou rykdom, jou gesondheid of jou metgesel; dit laat jou broos, woedend, of neerslagtig. Die insig wat Johannes de Villiers verwerf het toe sy eie lewe uitmekaar geval het, is die inspirasie vir hierdie boek. 

Johannes gaan steek kers op by deskundiges en terapeute, maar ook veral by gewone mense wat deur die lewe platgevee is. Groei, vind hy, is nie om veerkragtig terug te bons na wie jy was voor dinge verkeerd geloop het nie. Jy sal nooit weer dieselfde mens wees as voor die groot verlies of ramp nie. Maar jy kán dit oorleef — en selfs sterker wees.

Die roerende ware verhale van die mense met wie Johannes praat, wys dat pyn die saadjie kan wees vir iets kosbaar. Met die mindfulness-benadering wat hy hier deel, kan jy ook as ’n nuwe, wyser en meer deernisvolle mens aan die anderkant uitkom.

“Vol deurleefde wysheid en praktiese wenke – ‘n kompas vir groei en ‘n nuwe lewe.” Erns Grundling

Oor die skrywer

Johannes de Villiers is ’n skrywer en meditasie-instrukteur. Hy bedryf ’n jogaskool in Bloemfontein. Hy lei landwyd slypskole en naweekkursusse oor meditasie en mindfulness. Johannes was jare lank joernalis by HuisgenootRapport en Die Burger, en ook voorheen dosent in joernalistiek aan Stellenbosch Universiteit.

 

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Binnekort: Die verleiding van Eva de Winter – Louis Kruger

Miskien was dit die belangrikste kenmerk van hul huwelik: eerlikheid.

Wanneer Josua een middag toevallig vir Eva de Winter in ’n Rotterdamse koffiewinkel ontmoet, voel dit vir hom onwerklik dat ’n begaafde én beeldskone regsgeleerde soos sy in ’n verhouding sou belangstel. Maar sy getuienis vroeër in ’n hofsitting oor selfone se afluistervermoë interesseer haar – dit lei tot verdere afsprake, en algaande word hulle vriende. Dis eers ná hul huwelik voltrek is dat Josua begin begryp daar is iets onpeilbaars aan Eva. Die belangrikste kenmerk van hul huwelik was aanvanklik eerlikheid, of so het hy gedink. Hoeveel raaisels het sy van hom weerhou, en wat hy eindelik slegs met die hulp van obskure soekenjins oor haarkon naspeur?

Die verleiding van Eva de Winter is ’n ragfyn bestekopname van die grysland in ’n huwelik, en tegelyk ’n verkenning van die skaduagtige en manipulerende wêreld van farmaseutika en big data. Deur die skrywer van o.m. Gevaarlike land (1990), Herinnering aan Agnes (1995) en Wederkoms: Die lewe en geskiedenis van Jannes Hoop (2009).

Die verleding van Eva de Winter was ‘n finalis in die onlangse Groot Afrikaanse Romanwedstryd.

Oor die skrywer

Louis Krüger is op Upington gebore. Hy studeer teologie en Afrikaans/Nederlands aan Universiteit Stellenbosch, en in 1984 verhuis hy na Nederland. Hy is predikant by die Koningskerk in Rotterdam. Sy debuutroman, Die skerpskutter, is met die Eugène Maraisprys bekroon. Hierna volg verskeie romans, waarvan ‘n hele paar ook in Nederlands vertaal word. 

 
 

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My lewe met depressie: ‘n onderhoud met my seun

One day, somewhere in my early teens, I found out my mom was in the hospital. I didn’t understand why she had to go to the hospital for being sad, but at least she looked fine when we visited. She returned home soon after, and life went on as usual.

That was more than two decades ago. During that time, I learned more about depression and my mom learned a lot more about living with it. All that learning paid off. Today, she enjoys an excellent quality of life, despite her depression always lurking in the background. That’s why I decided to ask her some questions about how she managed to pull it off.

Let’s start at the beginning. What exactly is depression?

There are many definitions by professionals, but for me, it basically comes down to feeling utterly miserable when you have no reason even to feel bad. And it goes on and on and on. Naturally, hardship and loss can worsen depression, but it’s not necessarily the source. Feeling like you have nothing to live for when you KNOW you have lots of things to be grateful for adds a layer of guilt, only making the situation worse.

This is different from feeling blue for a day or two or grieving for a loss or being sad about something that happened. These feelings can be terrible, but they dissolve over time and usually don’t rob the person involved of his ability to experience joy.

That’s depression for me: a thief trying to steal all the joy from your life.

Depression is quite common, right? Do you think it’s increasing, or are people just becoming more open about it?

I think both. People are more open and that’s great. In our Afrikaans community in South Africa, I also try to do my part to lessen the stigma. But there is a troubling increase in mental illness, especially now with the pandemic just going on and on (particularly in countries with a low vaccination rate).

Could you share with us your journey down to rock bottom — that proverbial point where it is darkest before dawn?

It took me nearly a decade to reach rock bottom for the first time. I fought long and hard but without real knowledge or support.

One will never know, but the starting point could have been the failed miscarriage (yes, there is such a thing!) of twins that I experienced between my two children. It left me with a huge sense of failure and loss, and there was absolutely no support and very little sympathy for women who had lost an early pregnancy at the time.

The next step was postpartum depression after the birth of my second son (who is now one of the greatest joys in my life). I now realize that I tried too hard to be the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect daughter, the perfect friend. Perfectionism is a close ally of depression.

Starting a new career when I had the opportunity, while I would have preferred to remain a stay-at-home-mom who wrote romantic fiction in her (very little) spare time, was not the best decision. I was very good at my job, but I compromised a great deal to be accepted after a previous experience of severe bullying (which I only recognized years later for what it was). The pressure of doing everything perfectly while handling my job, two sons in different schools, and a dear husband who did not realize how hard I struggled, brought me to the point where I spent many weekends crying in bed. Finally, I surrendered to being admitted to the hospital.

Nearly twenty years later, after many years of ups and downs, but mostly ups, I reached rock bottom again. Over about five years, a series of deaths in my extended family, the emigration of both my children (although I’m extremely proud of them both), plus some disillusionment in my writing career took their toll. I actually considered suicide, but after a brief Google search realized that is not for me. I phoned my psychiatrist and uttered the most important words in my life: “I need help.”

What’s it like to be trapped in such a deep depression?

Depression distorts your sense of reality. Everything is wrong. Nothing seems good or right or joyful. You feel you’re worth nothing — that nobody loves you or has any reason to love you.

You have no sense of self-worth and lose the ability to enjoy the things you used to love.

You may lose your appetite, or you cannot stop eating (that’s me), which leads to body issues and an even worse image of yourself.

You either sleep too little or too much.

You know you must reach out to people, but you don’t have the energy.

The worst-case scenario is where you don’t see any reason to keep living. It’s not necessarily that you want to die — you just can’t live anymore.

Now for the comeback story! First off, what triggered the turning point in your battle with depression?

My first hospitalization many years ago (they basically just kept dangerous objects like scissors out of reach and gave me an injection to sleep). After that, my secret was out. Most people had no idea what to say to me, and vice versa. I experienced it as a huge humiliation, but over the following years, a slow learning process began to emerge.

My second hospitalization two decades later was a much more positive experience because a wonderful clinic for mental illnesses had been established in our town. They followed a holistic program, creating a safe space when the world becomes too much. I could also openly share my experience with family, friends, and contacts on social media.

Another pleasant surprise was that people were much more willing to talk about it than all those years ago. Other people shared that they also spent some time in a clinic. Thus, I can see clearly that the stigma has weakened during those two decades, although it’s far from completely gone.

That second hospitalization was four years ago. How has life changed since then?

What I learned over the years (and really experienced during and after my week-long stay at the clinic) is that many people respect me for fighting depression and being open about it. But I must stress that I try to keep my communication with them as positive as possible. People find it hard to cope with someone who complains all the time. Most people cannot understand depression completely (not even me after thirty years of intense study!). And being confronted with a depressed person’s lament makes them feel helpless and prompts them to give unsolicited advice.

The tremendous support I received during this time helped make it a very positive experience. It also helped that I had the insight to take part in ALL the activities the clinic offered, especially when I didn’t feel like it. This experience cemented many lessons I learned over the years, but the thing that changed is actually something very small: Learning to fill empty spaces of time with craftlike activities, which lessens the urge to go and lay down on my bed (the biggest danger of all for a depressed person). I’ve always done some knitting and crocheting, but I came home and added things like coloring for adults, building puzzles, and doing crossword puzzles to my repertoire. These are stationed at strategic places in my home, ready to be used when necessary.

The pandemic also served to cement some well-known truths in my life: that life is short and unpredictable, that deliberate gratefulness can actually lead to a real sense of gratefulness, that the world is a wonderful and interesting place with millions of secrets waiting to be discovered.

I developed a real sense of how precious life is and that it can end at any moment. This helps me live to the fullest while I have the opportunity.

I’m particularly interested in lifestyle solutions for controlling depression. What would you say is the relative importance of medication and lifestyle? Do they complement each other?

I believe one cannot stand without the other. Medication can give you the lift to be able to make lifestyle changes. Therapy is also a must — at the very least a few sessions when you’re in a really bad spot.

Sadly, both are very expensive and, at least here in South Africa, not accessible to most people. I’m one of the lucky ones, but even I find it very costly. Another problem is that many doctors still freely dish out antidepressants with no therapy or lifestyle change advice. This can lead (as it did for me years ago) to the patient believing everything would be fine after taking medication, which is often not.

Lifestyle change did not allow me to reduce my medication, but it helped me reach the point where I can live a really good life despite my depression.

What permanent lifestyle changes did you implement? Which ones do you think make the biggest difference?

My lifestyle developed over many years, and often I did not even realize I’m doing the right thing concerning my depression.

The most important thing that got me through many bad patches (and without which I cannot survive) is walking every day. For the last 27 years, I have walked 5 km at least five times a week.

Developing a morning routine also helped me a lot. I’ve known for many years that if I really want a successful day, I must do the important stuff as early in my day as possible. It’s only quite recently that I learned a morning routine is actually a thing.

Nature, reading, traveling, music (very important), and yoga have all helped me over the years. Nurturing relationships are of the utmost importance.

Later, I added a set of breathing exercises and meditation to my routine.

Each of these elements helps me keep my head above water. It basically comes down to filling your life with as many meaningful (for you) experiences as possible.

What I find impossible to conquer is my addiction to comfort food. Too many carbs can bring me down very effectively, so I do my best to control my intake of refined sugary products. But I cannot cut sugar completely (especially not when presented as carrot cake in a nice coffee shop that needs my support to recover from the Covid-slump).

I imagine that depression is not exactly the best mental state for making these types of lifestyle changes. How did you get it done despite the challenges?

I’ve always been interested in lifestyle design and living a meaningful life. Reaching my sixties and thinking about the inevitable challenges of aging enhanced my need to live my life as well as possible.

Having a son interested in these things with whom I can share my experience also played a big role in formalizing my development.

You mentioned the importance of nurturing relationships. Which relationships help the most with your depression?

My female friends are a great source of strength and hope, but what really can make or break me are my relationships with my close family: my husband, two sons, and one daughter-in-law. I simply cannot live without meaningful interaction with each of them.

I work very hard to maintain communication with each of them on their terms. They all have unique lifestyles and preferences I try to respect. That includes trying not to intrude too much on their time (but also not pulling back because of the fear of intruding).

A great joy in my life, prompted by my second hospitalization, is the daily early-morning video calls with my two emigrated children. With these short chats, we keep each other accountable to be up bright and early. This is especially important for me when my husband is traveling since I work from home and, in his absence, there’s nobody who sees or cares whether I get up and do things or just stay in bed and mope all day.

I savor these conversations and make sure I’m available at the decided time, respect our schedule, and keep the tone as positive and fun as possible, but also authentic and free of toxic positivity. For example, I don’t ignore the dire situation in my country, but I avoid feeding sad stories to my children all the time.

How would you describe your current relationship with depression?

We live together in a tense but respectful relationship. There is no winner or loser — we’re stuck with each other, and both of us accept that.

I’ve accepted that I will never be “cured” of my depression. I’m no longer looking for quick fixes or to be saved by anyone (doctors, religion, my dear husband). I’ve taken full responsibility for my quality of life.

I take care to complete all my daily tasks. Ticking off things I have done gives me a sense of control. That includes my daily tasks, but especially my little list of MUST DO’S for every day: exercise, healthy eating, being creative, meaningful contact with people I care about, doing something for other people. These things are most important when they feel the hardest.

What do you do nowadays when that somber feeling comes over you?

The very best thing I learned to do is just to put one foot in front of the other, even when I feel totally overwhelmed or incredibly sad. Quite often (but not always!) I succeed in stopping negative thoughts by taking a few deep breaths and letting the thought pass. It’s amazing how quickly a thought can dissolve when you don’t dwell on it.

At sixty-five, I have finally accepted that life is not meant to be a picnic and that all is not lost when one (or quite a few) things are bad or sad or wrong. During the pandemic, I recognized that this is a hard time, but not nearly as hard as many of the wars, famines, and natural disasters that millions of people have had to cope with over the centuries.

Did the pandemic present a particularly tough challenge?

At the beginning of the pandemic during total lockdown, I was inspired (and full of adrenalin) and literally did everything right. Sixteen months later, it is much more difficult.

Living with the loss and suffering in my country (South Africa) is never easy, but now it sometimes gets unbearable. I find solace in the many stories of real goodwill and people standing together in adversity. Doing small things for others (like lending my books to fellow readers while libraries are closed due to lockdown) and talking about my experience with a few special friends carry me through.

Oh, and crying. I’ve always been ashamed when I cried. Not anymore. Crying brings huge emotional relief. You must just stop again. 😊

A few years ago, I learned about Highly Sensitive Persons — a rather large percentage of the population wired to experience emotions and physical stimuli much more intensely than other people. Learning and accepting that I belong to this group eased my guilt about my more intense reactions to things other people wouldn’t think twice about. I’ve also learned that being a Highly Sensitive Person has its advantages, like finding natural empathy with other people’s ordeals.

If you could go back and give your younger self advice about living with depression, what would it be? Would the advice look different at different stages of life?

My advice would be the same at every age: Do not carry it alone. Seek help. Take responsibility. Look after yourself. If you cannot love yourself, at least respect yourself and treat yourself like a good friend, not as an enemy you try to bring down all the time. You deserve the best.

What would you say to your younger self when she was at her lowest point?

You are not alone. You are good enough.

Any final words of wisdom for readers who are struggling with depression?

Like the above: You are not alone. You are good enough.

Also: You deserve a good life. Use medication and therapy to help yourself, but do not stop there. Take responsibility for your lifestyle. Lifestyle changes cannot magically heal depression, but they can dramatically enhance your quality of life.

Life is precious. Savor it.

Die oorspronklike onderhoud het hier verskyn: https://medium.com/@schalk.nr14?p=5dbda3703214

 

Dankbaar vir depressie? Ja, regtig!

I have been living with depression for more than thirty years now. That is not as bad as it may sound, because during this time I have grown and learned a lot, even to the extent that I can now honestly say I am grateful for the experience. You will notice that I said “living with depression” and not “suffering from depression”. My choice of words highlights the most important change that I have experienced during this time — the change from a victim to somebody taking charge of her own situation. When the pandemic hit us, I found myself in a better position than many others, because through my years with depression I have learned a lot of things that I can use now. Here are some of them:

1.I realized immediately that I would have to be very careful to survive emotionally, while most people were firstly concerned about their physical safety. Which is very understandable, but in the long run not the best way to tackle this huge challenge. I was just as scared of falling into a deep depression as I was of catching the virus. Thus I could use my fear to spring into action and prevent a relapse rather than wait for it and then try to handle it. Firstly I made a list of things I had to do before and during total lockdown (in South Africa we had three days to prepare). This gave me something to do while it would have been very easy to fly into a panic about the unknown before us and be totally paralyzed by fear.

2.While my age put me in the category of high risk, it also put me in the category of people who have grown up in a society where consumerism was not as huge as it is now and where we were not used to having as much personal freedom as we enjoy now. Thus the idea of being careful with our resources and adhering to the government’s regulations was not as scary as it could have been. (A number of rather bizarre and petty regulations that were imposed on us is rather another story.)

3.I knew how important medication is if you need it. Gone are the days when I repeatedly tried to wean myself from my medication, only to fall back and suffer unnecessarily. In the days before lockdown I made sure that my prescription was fulfilled to avoid any kind of crisis later on.

4.I knew how important lifestyle is for general wellbeing. Although I have accepted that I would probably use medication for the rest of my life, I have also learned not to put all my hope on medication without adapting my lifestyle. Moderate exercise, eating healthy and sleeping enough (among other things) are extremely important to maintaining my mental health. Maintaining these habits during lockdown was not too difficult, because they have been ingrained in me for several years.

5.I have learned to embrace gratitude. Yes, we all know one should always be looking for the positive side of things, but making it a daily practice takes it to another level. The Facebook group Active gratefulness that I started a few years ago, has helped me just as much as it has helped the members. It is, however, important to remember that there is something as toxic positivity, where a person choose to try to ignore the hard side of life and always present a happy face, even though things are going badly.

6.I have learned to nurture the important relationships in my life. Before Covid-19 I considered myself a small group person and thus the prohibition of large gatherings was no problem for me. However, during the various stages of lockdown I have learned that I really prefer one-on-one conversations and that I can stand small talk even less than before. During hard lockdown I formally invited special friends to have a virtual coffee and online chat on the platform of their choice. In doing this I actually had more contact with friends than I usually have. (It was interesting — and sometimes upsetting- to see who enjoyed it and who turned the invitation down because they were not comfortable with technology, but also not willing to learn.)

7.I have learned how to use social media (in my case mainly Facebook) to establish and maintain meaningful relationships, even with people I have never met in person. During my years as a writer working from home and being alone for long stretches of time, Facebook has become an important factor in my life. Through trial and error I have learned to avoid its pitfalls and use it strengths. The result was that when Covid-19 struck, I already had a filtered audience on Facebook and very little exposure to false and negative posts.

8.I already knew the danger of fake news and misinformation when the pandemic hit us. My life with a husband and sons who make their living in research, has also taught me the value of information that has been validated scientifically. Although I could not avoid it completely, the waves of misinformation and fake news about Covid-19 did not hit me as hard as it hit many other people.

9.I already knew that gaining weight would be dangerous for my mental health. This may sound silly to anybody who has never struggled with weight issues, but I have known for a long time that it affects me badly when I feel negative about my body. As one grows older, your motivation for maintaining a healthy weight changes from worrying about your appearance to concern about ongoing health and longevity. I thus knew from the very beginning that I must not fall into the trap of gaining even a few kilo’s, as it would pose a serious threat to my physical but especially my mental wellbeing.

10.I knew I had to continue being creative, which in my case involves writing romance novels. I was lucky in the sense that my choice of genre is a perfect way to escape from the hard reality of the pandemic. I kept on writing, even (and especially) when I did not feel like writing. The principle of “eating your frog” works perfectly for this — when I have done a little writing, the day usually was saved. The trick is not to set too high an expectation for yourself. It does not have to be thousands of words per day, it even does not have to be very good writing, as long as you can just produce a few words when you set yourself the task.

Takeaway: Having experience of living with depression can actually be beneficial in the time of Covid-19. If one can accept this fact and use it deliberately, it can be of great help to yourself and to your loved ones.

Die artikel het oorspronklik hier verskyn: https://altacloete.medium.com/10-ways-living-with-depression-has-prepared-me-for-the-pandemic-f3ff211da421

 
2 Kommentaar

Posted by op 28/05/2021 in Depressie

 

Vurige verhale in Afrikaans

Johan Myburg skryf in die nuutste uitgawe van Plus50 soos volg oor romanses in Afrikaans:

“Menige skrywer (hierdie een ingesluit!) sal baie betaal om die woord hygroman terug te stop in die gat waaruit hy ons samelewing binnegekruip het.” Aan die woord is Alta Cloete, Bolandse skrywer met meer as 50 tydskrifverhale asook 20 romanses en nege liefdesromans op haar kerfstok.

“Dié woord [hygromans] word nou oor die algemeen gebruik waar erotiese verhale bedoel word,” sê sy. “Elke skrywer van liefdesromans of romanses word tot vervelens gevra: Wat skryf jy? Hygromans? Of nog erger: Huigromans…?”

Maar daar was ʼn tyd toe daar vir “bodice ripper” nie ʼn behoorlike Afrikaanse ekwivalent bestaan het nie, en toe het skrywer en ouduitgewer Kerneels Breytenbach met “hygroman” vorendag gekom, ʼn term wat hopelik “die knip sou terugsit in knipoog”. Dat daar ʼn mark was vir Afrikaanse ontvlugtingsleesstof waarin ʼn gelukkige einde ononderhandelbaar sou wees, het soos ʼn paal bo water gestaan. (Klik op bladsy 2 hieronder om verder te lees.)

 

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100 dae van inperking: Wilma Conradie

  • Ouderdom: 40
  • Beroep: Boervrou
  • Huwelikstatus: Getroud
  • Waar woon jy? Noordwes … Biesiesvlei
  • Alleen? Wie saam met jou? Bly op ‘n plaas saam met my man en drie kinders.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by op 15/09/2020 in Covid-19, Suid-Afrika

 

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100 dae van inperking: Van der Spuy Brink

  1. Ouderdom: 68
  2. Beroep: Konsultant en lektor
  3. Huwelikstatus: Getroud
  4. Waar woon jy? Durbanville
  5. Alleen? Wie saam met jou? (Name is nie nodig nie.) Vrou
  6. In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend? Om te oefen was uitdagend, toe die vyf kilomter om die huis afgemeet. Om nie ons nuwe kleinseuntjie te ontmoet nie. Mis my studente. Toastmasters Zoom nou en moeilik om te hoor.
  7. Hoe het jy gevoel toe die noodtoestand afgekondig is? Was bly oor die streng aksie wat Cyril geneem het.
  8. Hoe het jy gevoel toe algehele inperking (vlak 5)afgekondig is? Geskrik en toe opgewonde oor die nuwe dinge om anders te doen.
  9. Hoe het jy die drie dae direk voor inperking deurgebring? Wyn gekoop, gym toe gegaan.
  10. Hoe het jou lewe met inperking op vlak 5 verander?
    Hardloop om die huis, paar druppels rooi wyn per dag. Leer om te Zoom
    Wat was die moeilikste tydens vlak 5? Oefening en om geen kontak met kinders te kry nie.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by op 14/09/2020 in Covid-19, Suid-Afrika

 

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100 dae van inperking: Yvette

  • Ouderdom: 65
  • Beroep: Bibliotekaris
  • Huwelikstatus: Getroud
  • In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend?

Dis die eerste keer dat ek en my man heeldag saam by die huis was.

  • Hoe het jy gevoel toe die noodtoestand afgekondig is?

Ek het dit nie eintlik besef nie, ek het my toe nog nie juis aan die nuus gesteur nie.

 
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Posted by op 13/09/2020 in Covid-19, Suid-Afrika

 

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100 dae van inperking: Tinus Viviers

  • Beroep: Pensionaris en skrywer
  • Huwelikstatus: Getroud
  • Waar woon jy? Kempton Park
  • Alleen? Wie saam met jou? (Name is nie nodig nie.) My vrou
  • In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend? Enige pensioenaris is normaalweg onder finansiële druk agv stygende pryse terwyl jou inkomste nie ooreenkomstig groei nie. Saam met die inperking het aandeelpryse skerp gedaal en baie maatskappye het kleiner dividende betaal, ander het dit opgeskort. Bykomende inkomste moes doodeenvoudig gegenereer word met die besnoeiing van uitgawes as alternatief terwyl dit reeds nie maklik gaan nie.
 
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Posted by op 12/09/2020 in Covid-19, Suid-Afrika

 

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100 dae van inperking: Thersia Craven

  • Ouderdom: 68
  • Beroep: Afgetrede taalonderwyser
  • Huwelikstatus: Getroud
  • Waar woon jy? Bethlehem
  • Alleen? Wie saam met jou? (Name is nie nodig nie.) Eggenoot, seun en kleinseun
  • In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend? Ek sou nie my situasie as uniek of selfs besonder uitdagend beskou nie. Dit is wel (en was van die begin af) ‘n frustrasie om nie my oudste seun en sy gesin, wat skaars 3 kilometer van ons af woon, te mag besoek nie. Ek het my 2 kleinkinders in daardie gesin feitlik daagliks gesien, al was dit soms net vir ‘n paar minute. Ons het tevore een maal per week (gewoonlik Saterdagaand) saamgeëet en gekuier.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by op 11/09/2020 in Covid-19, Suid-Afrika

 

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100 dae van inperking: Sylvia de Kock

Sylvia de Kock

  • Naam: Sylvia de Kock
  • Skuilnaam as jy dit verkies:
  • Ouderdom: 44
  • Beroep: Franchise/Technical Assistant
  • Huwelikstatus: Ongetroud
  • Waar woon jy? Pretoria
  • Alleen? Wie saam met jou? (Name is nie nodig nie.)

Is alleen met lockdown.

  • In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend?

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by op 10/09/2020 in Covid-19, Suid-Afrika

 

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100 dae van inperking: Jada

skool

  • Ouderdom: 38
  • Beroep: Administrateur
  • Huwelikstatus: Getroud
  • Waar woon jy? Kimberley
  • Alleen? Wie saam met jou? (Name is nie nodig nie.) Saam my man en twee kinders
  • In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend? Nee wat ek sou glad nie sê dit was of is uniek nie en nie uitdagend nie. Saam my man en kinders is ek op my gelukkigste. Was sleg toe my man moes terug gaan werk toe, maar ek is dankbaar dat ek steeds by huis kan werk.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by op 09/09/2020 in Covid-19, Suid-Afrika

 

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100 dae van inperking: Schalk Cloete

  • Ouderdom: 66
    Beroep: Wetenskap
    Huwelikstatus: Getroud
    Waar woon jy? Paarl

    Alleen? Wie saam met jou? (Name is nie nodig nie.)

My vrou

In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend?

My situasie is nie besonder uitdagend nie, ek kan alles doen wat ek graag wil

Hoe het jy gevoel toe die noodtoestand afgekondig is?

Dat dit op daardie stadium nodig was

Hoe het jy gevoel toe algehele inperking (vlak 5)afgekondig is?

Dat ek my lewe kan aanpas om aan te gaan met belangrike take

Hoe het jy die drie dae direk voor inperking deurgebring?

Plekke besoek

Ingegaan kantoor toe om seker te maak alles nodg is huistoe geskuif

Hoe het jou lewe met inperking op vlak 5 verander?

 
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Posted by op 08/09/2020 in Covid-19, Suid-Afrika

 

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100 dae van inperking: Salomé du Toit

  1. Ouderdom: 66
  2. Beroep: Boekhouer
  3. Huwelikstatus: Getroud
  4. Waar woon jy? Paarl
  5. Alleen? Wie saam met jou? (Name is nie nodig nie.) Eggenoot en 1 seun
  6. In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend? Om nie my kinders en kleinkinders te kan besoek of sien nie.
  • Hoe het jy gevoel toe die noodtoestand afgekondig is? Seker sou dit een of ander tyd kom.

    Hoe het jy gevoel toe algehele inperking (vlak 5)afgekondig is? Gedink 3 weke is darem nie te veel nie….nogal gedink “dalk kan ek agterstallige projekte klaar maak”
  • Hoe het jy die drie dae direk voor inperking deurgebring? Normaal voortgegaan….net daardie week se inkopies gedoen.
  • Hoe het jou lewe met inperking op vlak 5 verander? Redelik soos voorheen…geen laat slaap..kos maak soos gewoonlik…bietjie meer tyd aan stokperdjie bestee.
  • Wat was die moeilikste tydens vlak 5? Geen ‘‘koffie kuiers” , kleinkinders en kinders  moet  wegbly…byeenkomste wat met my stokperdjie(laslap) te doen het en natuurlik al die vriendinne wat daarmee gepaard gaan.
  • Wat is vir jou positief tydens vlak 5? Meer tyd om rustig te wees en saam met huismense te spandeer en meer “stokperdjie tyd”.
  • Hoe het die mense gevaar wat saam met jou ingeperk was? Goed…..ons het n “talk” gehad voor inperking dat elkeen sy beste voet moet voorsit en tong in toom hou.
  • Hoe het jy die verlenging van vlak 5 ervaar? Negatief…wanner kry ons weer bietjie meer vryheid.
  • Wat het jy die meeste gemis op vlak 5? Dit het later n leefwyse geword…afgestomp.
  • Hoe het die verandering na vlak 4 jou geraak? Wat was die verskil van vlak 5 na vlak 4? Kan nie eers meer onthou nie.
  • Waaroor was jy bly met die verlaging na vlak 4? Ek weet nie meer of daar iets was waaroor ek kon bly voel nie…..miskien om te kon stap…alhoewel ek baie winkel toe gestap het vanaf eerste dag van inperking.
 
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Posted by op 07/09/2020 in Covid-19, Suid-Afrika

 

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100 dae van inperking: Moryn Hansen

  1. Ouderdom: 49 (het in grendeltyd verjaar)
  2. Beroep: Vryskutjoernalis en skrywer
  3. Huwelikstatus: Getroud
  4. Waar woon jy? In ʼn klein nedersetting ʼn hele ent buite Upington.
  5. Alleen? Wie saam met jou? (Name is nie nodig nie.)

Normaalweg is dit ek, my man en ons twee seuns (amper 20 en 23) met skoonpa (82) na wie ons ook omsien in sy huis langsaan (baie naby).

In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend?

Uniek sou ek nie sê nie, daar is talle ander mense in dieselfde situasie. Soos ek genoem het, moet ons na my skoonpa omsien wat Alzheimers het. Ons het ons eie swaarvoertuigonderneming wat reeds sedert verlede jaar swaar ly onder die sinkende ekonomie. Die inperking kon dus nie finansieel op ʼn slegter tyd gebeur het nie.

Hoe het jy gevoel toe die noodtoestand afgekondig is?

 
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Posted by op 06/09/2020 in Covid-19, Suid-Afrika

 

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100 days of lockdown: Maud Bonato

  1. Ouderdom: Age: 43
  2. Beroep: Occupation: Researcher
  3. Huwelikstatus: Marital status: Single
  4. Waar woon jy? Where do you live: Plettenberg Bay
  5. Alleen? Wie saam met jou? (Name is nie nodig nie.) Do you live alone? Yes
  6. In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend? What do you consider the specific challenges of your situation?
 
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Posted by op 06/09/2020 in Covid-19

 

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100 dae van inperking: Maryke Stern

Ouderdom: 41

4. Beroep: Ekoloog

5. Huwelikstatus: Getroud

6. Waar woon jy? Plaas in die Karoo

7. Alleen? Wie saam met jou? (Name is nie nodig nie.) Man en 2 klein kindertjies amper8 en 6

8. In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend?

Uniek, ons is op plaas en dit het bietjie meer ruimte en spasie en n mate van vryheid gegee teenoor vriende in die dorp.

Dit was besonder uitdagend om werk, skoolgee en plaaswerk en gewone huishouding in een dag te pas!

9. Hoe het jy gevoel toe die noodtoestand afgekondig is?

 
Lewer kommentaar

Posted by op 05/09/2020 in Covid-19

 

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100 dae van inperking: Marlize Hobbs-Russell

  1. Ouderdom: 48
  2. Beroep: Koordineerder vir studentepraktykopleiding in maatskaplike werk by UNISA
  3. Huwelikstatus: Getroud
  4. Waar woon jy? Pretoria
  5. Alleen? Wie saam met jou?

Saam met my vrou, Cheryne en ons dogtertjie, Lente.

In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend?

My dogtertjie is outisties en dis moeilik om so iets te verduidelik.

My vrou het kanker en daarom ‘n ko-morbiditeit

 
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Posted by op 05/09/2020 in Covid-19, Suid-Afrika

 

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100 dae van inperking: Marliza Fick

  1. Beroep:Diereversorger, dagsorg & nasorg vir kleuters
  2. Huwelikstatus: Geskei
  3. Waar woon jy? Paarl
  4. Alleen? Wie saam met jou? (Name is nie nodig nie.)

My drie kinders

  1. In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend?
 
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Posted by op 04/09/2020 in Covid-19, Suid-Afrika

 

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100 dae van inperking: Marike van der Watt

  1. Ouderdom: 40
  2. Beroep: Voltydse ma en Phd-student
  3. Huwelikstatus: Getroud
  4. Waar woon jy? Stellenbosch
  5. Alleen? Wie saam met jou? (Name is nie nodig nie.)

My man, ons drie kinders (dogter 17, dogter 15, seun 13), kleinniggie wat by ons loseer.

In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend?

Sowel ek as my man is tans besig met doktorale studie. My man moes boonop ook volstoom aanlynonderrig aan sy studente gee. En dan is daar drie tieners wat ook aanlyn moes leer. En ʼn huis wat homself nie gaan skoonmaak nie. Baie daarvan dus nie besonder uniek nie, maar beslis uitdagend.

Hoe het jy gevoel toe die noodtoestand afgekondig is?

 
Lewer kommentaar

Posted by op 03/09/2020 in Covid-19, Suid-Afrika

 

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100 dae van inperking: Louise Viljoen

Ouderdom: 47

Beroep: Vryskutresensent en -teksversorger

Huwelikstatus: Getroud

Waar woon jy? Jeffreysbaai

Alleen? Wie saam met jou? (Name is nie nodig nie.) My man en my ma.

In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend?

Ek werk al vir jare vryskut vanaf die huis. Ook kom ek selde in die dorp (soms een keer in twee of drie maande) omdat my ma, wat aan demensie ly, by ons bly en voltydse sorg nodig het. Ek is haar alleenversorger. Ek beskou my situasie as uniek omdat ek reeds in ’n groot mate “ingeperk” was.

 
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Posted by op 02/09/2020 in Covid-19, Suid-Afrika

 

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100 dae van inperking: Louise van der Merwe

Louise vd M s&w

  1. Ouderdom: 38
  2. Beroep: Tuisbly mamma en fiksie skrywer
  3. Huwelikstatus: Getroud
  4. Waar woon jy? Klerksdorp
  5. Alleen? Wie saam met jou? (Name is nie nodig nie.) Manlief, tiener dogter en seun en een tween seun.

 

  1. In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend?

 

Ons bly op ʼn plot so 13km buite die dorp, so ons was nog altyd as gesin gewoond aan buite die dorp se oopte, dus het die inperking in die begin nie veel ‘anders’ gevoel nie. Ons besef ons is bitter bevoorreg en my hart gaan uit na mense wat opgehok moes sit in klein plekkies soveel so dat – glo dit nou of nie – ek ʼn skuldgevoel begin ontwikkel het en maklik emosioneel daaroor geraak het. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by op 01/09/2020 in Covid-19, Suid-Afrika

 

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100 dae van inperking: Louise Duminy

Louise Duminy

  1. Ouderdom: 46
  2. Beroep: Handelsmerkbestuurder
  3. Huwelikstatus: Geskei
  4. Waar woon jy? Klapmuts
  5. Alleen? Wie saam met jou? (Name is nie nodig nie.) Alleen

 

  1. In watter opsig(te) beskou jy jou situasie tydens inperking as uniek of besonder uitdagend? Ek woon alleen, ander mense het interaksie met hulle gades of gesin, om elke dag alleen negt met jou eie gesleskap en gedagtes te wees is uitdagend,

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by op 30/08/2020 in Covid-19, Suid-Afrika

 

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