The government of Angola recently declared a total national lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. But Angolans have come out in defiance saying they cannot stay at home.
Speaking during a televised address to the nation, the president of Angola, Joao Lourenco declared the nation was in a state of emergency.
He further went ahead to order a 15-day total national lockdown.
With this lockdown, all vehicles were banned from all public roads. Only emergency cases were put in exception.
As a result, the residents of Luanda have begun to feel the heat of the lockdown. Most of them rely on daily wages to afford daily basics such as food. Following the government’s directive, this is now not possible.
It is this lack of access to basic commodities such as food and water that has pushed Angolans into defiance. With no food, they are now saying they better die of Coronavirus than die of hunger.
Some have, as a result, resumed their daily activities in a bid to make ends meet.
I can’t watch my children die
For instance, Quechan Paulina, a resident of Luanda, laments how she ordered water from a truck to be delivered to her. Two weeks later, the water had not been delivered yet. She now neither had water nor money to buy some more.
The widowed mother of three has been relying on social assistance to survive. She now wondered how she could continue staying waiting at home and watch her children die of hunger and thirst.
In another case, Domingos João, a taxi driver in Luanda said though they knew the disease was dangerous, they needed money to survive.
As such, they would continue to work normally. And as a show of understanding the seriousness of the pandemic, they would continue to carry soap, hand sanitizers and to also wear face masks.
It is not only Angolans who are in defiance of the government but also the people of Zimbabwe.
On Monday, Zimbabwe entered its second week of lockdown. During its first week, more than 2000 people were arrested by the police and crammed into cells.
This was after they decided to continue with their daily activities instead of staying at home. According to them, they couldn’t stay at home and die of hunger
Will lockdowns work in Africa?
Though measures to ease the flow of food have now been put in place by the government of Zimbabwe, its citizens are not yet satisfied. Some still insist on breaking the rules of the lockdown.
The fervent defiance by Angolans and Zimbabweans against their governments’ directive begs a question; Will lockdowns work in Africa?
The majority of Africans rely on daily wages for food and other basic needs. At times, even the daily wage is not enough to feed the often large families.
In the event of a total lockdown, most families will not have any food left by the third day. What then will they do? Will they move out and risk dying of the Coronavirus or stay in and starve? Will governments be able to feed their citizens?
It is such situations that put the continent in a unique position when it comes to the fight against COVID-19.