Social distancing a major concern in Kwano and joggers need safer spaces to exercise 

Published: May 22nd, 2020
Wandisile's Plett - A blog by Wandisile Sebezo

Wandisile’s Plett

A blog by Wandisile Sebezo.

Social distancing is a major concern in Kwano and joggers need safer spaces to exercise

As someone who stays in a township I know first-hand how social distancing and staying indoors can be a nightmare for many families living in these areas, and being part of an initiative that delivers food parcels to those in need, I have seen first-hand how families are really struggling to make ends meet.

I have also seen how many of these families are squeezed together like sardines, making social distancing really not practical, but some behaviours cannot go without reprimand, alas, especially in public spaces.

Once in a while I get out of the house to get essentials, and often the scene is not something exciting as one moves about in the streets of Plett’s biggest township. If it’s not children playing on the streets, it’s adults walking in groups on their way to the shops.

Something else has spiked my interest recently – joggers. There seems to be a spike in jogging in Kwano since jogging was permitted by the government, and let me say outright that there is nothing wrong with jogging – people need to exercise, it keeps the doctor away.

jogger on tar road
A jogger on a tar road in the early morning

However, when people go on jogging without adhering to social distancing guidelines then it becomes a problem for the rest of us. After a video showing Khayelitsha residents in Cape Town jogging in large groups and no social distancing followed and almost all not wearing face masks, to confirm my suspicions I went on to check how Kwano residents were behaving themselves.

Two issues stand out for me:

The first hazard is where people are jogging. The national road seems to be a favourite spot for joggers this side of the town. With us being in winter, it’s still dark at 6:00 am, and most people are not wearing reflective gear as there are motorists and heavy-duty vehicles travelling through Plett.

Another hazard is people jogging with kids on the N2… this is the worst. Kwano has quite a number of open fields where kids (and adults) can exercise freely and safely, there is even the municipal stadium at their disposal, and I don’t think Bitou Municipality would object to the stadium being used in this regard.

Other than that our joggers seem to be faring much better that those in the bigger townships like Khayelitsha, but we shouldn’t take chances.

The government regulations restricting jogging between 06:00 and 09:00 obviously have an impact and contributes to the huge number of people flocking to their streets to jog at the same time.

Not to sound like a stuck record, but we must always stress to people that for us to win this fight, strict social distancing, wearing of face masks and washing hands regularly are key.

Otherwise, what are we jogging for?