It is a fresh winter’s day. 11-year-old Teghan climbs out of bed, has some breakfast with his family, and gets ready for school. He is in Grade 5. Only today he is not putting his school uniform on. He can attend school in his pyjamas if he wants to, because it is online school.

The lockdown has meant school is out!

In our current prolonged lockdown situation it can be hard for a child to not see their friends, or participate in their favourite team sport. Add to this having a remedial or special need, or living in poverty, with the inability to partake in online schooling, or being hungry as your parents cannot work. It is then that the lockdown brings with it extra challenges.

So, what is Teghan doing? He is being taught online by his favourite teacher, Miss H. He is in her bridging class in a private school, and they meet for class in this way every day. 

‘I miss my classroom, my friends, sports and my teachers’, says Teghan.

His mum, Kirsten, an occupational therapist, chatted about his challenges as a child with mild Dyslexia and ADHD. He excels at sport which he is unable to participate in currently, and the constant screen time has been very frustrating for him. He is enjoying baking and has completed a 5km challenge with his dad for charity, with many laps around the garden. He is making and doing things he never did before lockdown.

A child hero. That’s what he is.

Lia is 12 years old, a Grade 6 pupil from a government school. Not having reliable online teaching, she says she will catch up with school work when she returns to school. 

Since lockdown began, she has started making her mum’s lunch for work, and coffee in bed in the morning. She loves being able to contribute to her household, and this is her way of doing so.

Is she keen to go back to school? ‘No, as my best friend is being home schooled for the rest of the year, I will miss her too much’, she says.

School will be a ‘new normal’ in many ways when the children return. Schools need to have Covid-19 protocols, policies and procedures in place. Is Lia concerned about this ‘new normal’? ‘No’, she says, ‘I would like to see my teachers again. I will obey the new procedures’.

Lia is a budding fashion designer. Being in lockdown has made her pause, and ponder her future. She has decided she would like to become a fashion designer when she has finished school.

A child hero. That’s what she is.

Amogelang is 12 years old, and in Grade 7. He lives in a squatter camp on the West Rand.

His challenge is poverty. He gets on with his day in a different way to children that live in warm brick houses. Today he is collecting a food parcel for his family. He misses playing soccer with his friends. 

Can he have online classes? No. He doesn’t have an electronic device to have an online class. There is no wi-fi in the squatter camp. Data is expensive too. He has not done any school work since the lockdown has started. His mom is a creche assistant, and cannot work under lockdown yet. His dad is a taxi driver. He is happy his dad is working. 

‘I like to look after my family, by fetching the food’, he says. 

He is looking after his family’s needs, and is staying home as much as possible.

A child hero. That’s what he is. 

Meet 15 year old Jesse. He left school last year and is focusing on his music and dance. He taught himself acoustic guitar and piano. He has been composing since he was 5 years old, and has released his own piano album on YouTube. 

He has Aspergers Syndrome, is Dyslexic and has Auditory Processing Disorder. Music is his lockdown (and everyday) language. 

You can listen to Jesse’s entire album by clicking the link below:

Jesse Blignaut’s YouTube album

A child hero. That’s what he is. 

They are heroes, because amidst valid concerns with trying to keep up with school, collecting food for their family, or not seeing their friends and teachers, they are finding an inner strength and inherent positivity to get through lockdown. 

Families are reconnecting, they are reprioritising and focussing on each other. Discovering new skills and talents. Making memories and redefining values. 

This is a call out of gratitude to ALL children across our rainbow nation.

Thank you for your resilience.

Thank you for your courage.

Thank you for your support during this uncertain time.

You are helping our country get through this, together.

South African child heroes. That’s what you all are!

#ImStaying Salutes You!




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