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Covid in the Kasi: locked down with no electricity

Locked Down With No Electricity

COVID IN THE KASI – LOCKDOWN DAY 61

Diepsloot Extension 3 residents have been locked down with no electricity for over 2 weeks. Observing lockdown in the township is challenging enough under normal circumstances. Not having electricity makes it even harder.

“I’ve been working from home and the whole electricity issue makes life very difficult. I have to walk to another station to charge my equipment in order to complete my work. It’s been 15 days and no action has been taken”, says one disgruntled resident.

It is also a huge challenge for students who are studying online. This issue is not unique to Diepsloot as a number of townships around the country have found themselves in the same situation.

According to Eskom, the power cuts are the result of illegal electricity connections in the area. There is a failed mini sub that will only be replaced once 90% of the residents have paid their fines or entered into an agreement to pay”, said an Eskom official. “We advise stand owners to send their details to the ward councillor as soon as possible.”

Now, the whole community will suffer for the crimes of their fellow residents.

by Tshepiso Makgato
Covid in the Kasi citizen journalist, Peter Ngobeni

Covid in the Kasi – Behind the Scenes: Peter Ngobeni

My name is Peter Ngobeni. I am a dance coordinator, MC and the creative director of Caphas Creative Solutions. We specialise in communicating brand messages to LSM (SAARF Living Standards Measure) 1-5. Our goal is to increase brand engagement for our clients.

Lockdown has negatively affected my business, as most of our income comes from events. However, to stay afloat during the lockdown, I have started using my design skills to help small township businesses with branding, logos and business cards. I have noticed that some people have gained the desire to start their own businesses during this lockdown, so I assist them with CIPC business registration. I also help operating businesses apply for permits and, finally, I am part of the creative team that has been providing content for the Covid in the Kasi campaign.

The biggest challenge I am facing with running my business is having access to creative spaces in the township like theatres and dance studios for dance crews to rehearse. Finding professional, reliable partners to work with on big projects is also a challenge, which makes the up-scaling of my business a distant dream.

Further, not having access to the free Wi-Fi and a working space at Father Louis Blondel Centre has made running my business a challenge. Data rates are high- which makes it impossible to work from home for long periods of time.

Working on the Covid in the Kasi campaign has been the highlight of my lockdown experience thus far because through the campaign we have been able to create content that impacts people’s lives positively. It has given us a preview of what we can achieve through online platforms as township content creators. Before this campaign, I didn’t think of myself as journalist but I am loving the journey.

Covid in the Kasi citizen journalist, Lerato Jane Molefe

Covid in the Kasi – Behind the Scenes Lerato Jane Molefe

I am a voice that jots down its thoughts on scripts… An eye that documents moments of history being made.

I am Lerato Jane Molefe, and I’m a photographer, scriptwriter and voice over artist based in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg. With my passion for storytelling and desire of being a revolutionary voice for the voiceless, I capture culture and lifestyle in the most artistic and unique way.

I operate my own photography company, called MB Photography SA. We specialise mostly in photojournalism. However, we also cover events, birthday celebrations, weddings and much more.  I believe that a good photograph isn’t taken but is made with precision to leave a mark.

The Lockdown has affected my business immensely, as it was shifting to becoming a stock library to supply content to magazines, newspapers, ad agencies and online platforms. The lockdown has delayed this expansion in terms of having means to get other photographers to contribute to the formation of MB Photography’s stock library.

On the bright side, I’m currently working on a campaign headed by The Wot-if? Trust, called ‘Covid in the Kasi’, which is about covering topics or issues around the township about how the pandemic is impacting the lives of many people.

The biggest challenge I’ve been facing with running my business is not having transport to get to faraway location shoots, not getting new equipment so I can capture better photographs and also not having a photo printing machine, as some of my clients like enlarging their pictures and having them printed out.

Not having access to the Father Louis Blondel Centre (FLBC) has made the digital side of running my business more difficult as there I had access to free Wi-Fi. Data is expensive so now accessing emails and business social media pages is a stretch in my pocket!

Personally, lockdown has impacted me negatively, because prior the lockdown I was completing my internship at Anza R Photography. I was getting so much industry knowledge on how to make photography a business, I was using editing software that I became quite good at using and I was seeing my photography skills elevate as well. So when lockdown hit, I was stopped from going to the office and now I’m uncertain of what the future holds for me at Anza R Photography.

Working on the Covid in the Kasi project means a lot to me, as a writer and as a photojournalist. I get to be the eye that documents history, the writer that shares human stories. I’m creating content for the township – creating it so the people’s stories I share get recognised and make an impression so that those very same people can be assisted by the public. It’s phenomenal as a creative to see the impact your work has, the hearts you reach and the eyes you open up. It makes this Covid19 crisis a lot easier to handle.

We are beings of nature and we root from the same ground.

Covid in the kasi journalist, Katlego Jonathan Pule

Covid in the Kasi – Behind the Scenes: Katlego Jonathan Pule

“You have nothing to lose until you have something to win” is a saying I live by and stand for, and which has been truly put to the test during this Covid19 pandemic.

My name is Katlego Jonathan Pule. I am the Founder of Katzshots Publisher, specializing in creating content via Photography and videos.

It’s been a struggle running my business during lockdown because there is very little demand for photography right now. My biggest market was outdoor photography, but now I don’t get clients like I used to.

Currently, I get invited to to capture the moments at places in my township where food parcels are being distributed . The Wot-if? Trust is playing a big role in my life at the moment. I am working on the ‘Covid in the Kasi’ campaign whereby I’m part of a team that creates content showing how the pandemic is affecting our community.  I didn’t know I would fall in love with being a journalist and being part of the program has opened up many doors, as our content has been helping people who are suffering in this crisis to get help from donors.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced with running my business is transport, income and equipment.  It’s very hard running a business without having transport to carry equipment, not having a laptop and using a slow computer without internet access. Clients expect me to get to the location on time, buy my own food and airtime to communicate with them and deliver their work on time using my own data.

Not having access to Father Louis Blondel Centre has been a big challenge for my business because I have no internet access, no printing machine or good equipment like a faster laptop and editing software.

Personally, the lockdown has made life difficult for me because I’m now the breadwinner in the family. My mother’s business is non-essential so she has not been able to generate an income.

The “Covid in the Kasi” has brought to my attention that most people suffer because they lack of information and that we, as journalists, telling their stories can make a huge positive impact in their lives.

Covid in the Kasi citizen journalist, Kemisetso

Covid in the Kasi – Behind the Scenes: Kemisetso Mkhululi

At the beginning of the lockdown, we launched the Covid in the Kasi social media campaign. The campaign’s aim is to show what the lockdown means for Diepsloot residents and how they are coping during these challenging and unprecedented times. We recruited a group of Diepsloot creatives (Wot-If? participants) to be our citizen journalists, bringing us authentic stories of the struggles and triumphs of the people around them. Now, we turn the cameras onto them to tell you the stories of the people working behind the scenes of #CovidintheKasi.

Kemisetso Mkhululi runs a multimedia company called Vsnry Group Consulting.

How has lockdown affected your business ? 
Places where we network with clients are not operating at the moment. This includes places where we get business development support and meet with other creatives to find out what projects we can be involved in.

What work are you doing at the moment?  
In addition to the Covid in the Kasi campaign, I am working on the #IamEssential2 social media campaign and branding for clients who are using this period to better position their businesses in their industry after the lockdown. I am also collaborating on creating a platform called Diepsloot Explora.

How has not having access to FLBC and eHUB impacted your business? 
We used the FLBC as a place for many of our meetings, networking sessions and business development. These are some of the most essential ways in which we develop the business and at the moment we are not able to do that.

What has working on the Covid in the Kasi project meant for you?
I would like to believe that it keeps those following our social media informed about how others see the impact of Covid in the Kasi (Diepsloot). I am also learning a lot about working in real time, quick planning and designing.

Covid in the Kasi – Behind the Scenes: Cleopatra Matuwane

At the beginning of the lockdown, we launched the Covid in the Kasi social media campaign. The campaign’s aim is to show what the lockdown means for Diepsloot residents and how they are coping during these challenging and unprecedented times. We recruited a group of Diepsloot creatives (Wot-If? participants) to be our citizen journalists, bringing us authentic stories of the struggles and triumphs of the people around them. Now, we turn the cameras onto them to tell you the stories of the people working behind the scenes of #CovidintheKasi.

Cleopatra Matuwane is a photographer and filmmaker. Her company is called Khava Plus Media.

How has the lockdown affected your business?

I get my profit from shooting at events. Since the lockdown events have been cancelled or postponed, contracts with potential clients have been put on hold and it is hard for me to find clients and generate a stable income. I keep busy by taking time to dive into my creativity and work on projects that I have been wanting to work on.

What work are you doing at the moment?

I am currently working part time on the Covid in the Kasi campaign with The Wot-if? Trust. We are trying to tell personal stories of how the lives of township people are being affected by the pandemic and the lockdown.

What has been the biggest challenge you faced with running your business?

Finding new clients and expanding my services to reach a wider market. Limited resources and equipment makes production slower but we make do with what we have to keep afloat.

A wise man told me that if visual artists got paid every time someone views a picture of their work people would see the value of art and the need for paying for it. Right now all I do is post and share my work on social media hoping that someone will see it and book me for a gig.

What has working on the Covid in the Kasi project meant for you?

It has taught me a lot, especially how to work remotely and keep up with deadlines. I was pretty comfortable in my field of work and this campaign pulled me out of my comfort zone of being just a visual artist. It has enhanced my writing, narration and communication skills.

How has not having access to FLBC and eHUB impacted your business?

The FLBC has been a place where we are able to connect and keep in touch with our clients using the uncapped data and the office space . The services they provide have been very valuable for me, personally, as well as my business. Now that it is closed,  it is hard for me to stay connected with my existing clients and reach out to potential clients.

How has the lockdown impacted you personally?

There’s two sides to the coin. Lockdown has made me realize that life is short and I have been using this time to work on improving my craft. Business is not going so great and that is a hard pill for me to swallow.

Duke Kgomotso, Covid in the Kasi citizen journalist

Covid in the Kasi – Behind the Scenes: Duke Kgomotso

At the beginning of the lockdown, we launched the Covid in the Kasi social media campaign. The campaign’s aim is to show what the lockdown means for Diepsloot residents and how they are coping during these challenging and unprecedented times. We recruited a group of Diepsloot creatives (Wot-If? participants) to be our citizen journalists, bringing us authentic stories of the struggles and triumphs of the people around them. Now, we turn the cameras onto them to tell you the stories of the people working behind the scenes of #CovidintheKasi.

Duke Kgomotso is a photographer, operating his business under the brand Exposure Time Media.

How has the lockdown affected your business?

Due to the lockdown, Exposure Time Media has not had any bookings for our services. The company has seen a loss in income as most of our revenue comes from events.

What work are you doing at the moment?

At the moment, I am working on the Covid in the Kasi campaign which tells stories about the pandemic from a kasi perspective. This includes taking images and writing stories that are broadcast on social media platforms. I am also involved with a few peers in the #Iamessential campaign that allows people to speak out about themselves personally and professionally – how they see themselves as being essential to their families, peers, and humanity overall. I am writing and taking images that depict life during the pandemic.

What has been the biggest challenge you faced with running your business?

The biggest challenge has been acquiring clients during this time and also facing the possibility of the business not running after this has all gone. the effect on the economy would make it harder for small business. It has also been hard to try and remodel the business so it can adapt to the drastic changes.

How has not having access to FLBC and eHUB impacted your business?

With the free uncapped wifi not being available it is costly to run a digital business without data. Data is expensive. with full access to wifi at Flbc it is easier and much more convenient to run a digital business.

How has the lockdown impacted you personally?

The lockdown has impacted me positively, personally, as it has given me an opportunity to rediscover myself as an artist and given me time to explore different  aspects of creativity. Furthermore, it has shown me that as an entrepreneur you need to be ready for disasters and plan ahead.

What has working on the Covid in the Kasi project meant for you?

Working on the project for me has meant team work and collaborating with people who have different ideas and  skills . Sometimes it has meant stress and always hard work. I have been first in line to see the effects of the pandemic in the kasi and hear stories from different people, which I attempt to tell as authentically possible.