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R350 a month: Inside the lives of special grant recipients

bit2Big > Africa News > R350 a month: Inside the lives of special grant recipients

On the evening of 21 April last year, 25 days into the national lockdown, Veronicah Sehoke and her family were sitting in a tiny room that functions as a kitchen, a living room and a bedroom, eating their supper.

Sehoke, who loves to cook, had prepared her favourite meal: pap and chicken feet. But instead of enjoying her food, she was listening to her family making predictions about what President Cyril Ramaphosa would say.  

Something new was happening for them and the rest of the country. The previous month, South Africa shut down. Everybody was required to stay at home and work from there, if they could. As Ramaphosa greeted the nation, Sehoke thought about how the events of the past three weeks had disrupted her life, making an already difficult situation unbearable. 

She tried to drown out the chatter from her mother and father to focus on what the speech would say about her situation. The 32-year-old has been unemployed for six years; at that time, all she could think about was what her family’s next meal would be. She was also hoping that the stories she saw on social media about a relief fund to cushion vulnerable citizens were true. 

After completing her motor mechanic course in 2014, Sehoke thought she would get a job — but it never materialised. The country’s economy kept on shrinking.

Faced with unemployment, she spent years cleaning her neighbour’s houses and braiding people’s hair. She had to make money to help support her father, a pensioner; her mother, a tea lady at a hardware store in Silverton in Pretoria; and her 15-year-old sibling with epilepsy. 

Ke fila bad: Veronicah Sehoke says that if the special Covid-19 grant is not reinstated, the youth must be provided with learnerships or other alternatives. Photos: Delwyn Verasamy

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