The year of Covid-19

The year of rules and restrictions

As 2020 draws to an end, we look back at some of the stories that made headlines in the Atlantic Sun this year.

The year got off to the grim start for the traders at the Green Point Market when the first trading day was suspended because the market space was needed for parking during a soccer match.

The market was opened at its new location after it had been moved 10 years ago to make way for the construction of the Cape Town stadium and the surrounding Green Point Urban Park before the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Traders were overjoyed when the City called back historical traders who were part of the original market to return to the area.

However, on that very first Sunday, things fell apart and traders demonstrated during the soccer match. Traders said they viewed the cancellation of the market as a betrayal of trust and a slap in the face of the informal economy. A few weeks later, the City proposed that the Old Bowling Green in Green Point be the new home for traders.

The Camps Bay Preparatory school officially opened the doors of its new premises in January. The building had previously housed the Camps Bay Bowling Club for nearly 100 years.

This year Capetonians also had the opportunity to watch tennis superstars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal compete at the Cape Town stadium. The match raised about R54.6 million for the Roger Federer Foundation and also set a new Guinness World Record, with 51 954 people attending a single match. The organisers were praised by local police and other stakeholders saying it was one of the most well-organised events in Cape Town.

And then, in March lockdown was announced and nothing was the same again.

The country had its first “family meeting” on Sunday March 15 during which President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would be on lockdown​ from March 26 to April 16, to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Most businesses were closed, and events cancelled, postponed or suspended. We now live in a world where wearing a mask is mandatory, everyone is talking about social distancing and kisses and hugs are a thing of the past.

Overnight, roads became desolate, and as people settled into lockdown, they started cooking and baking at home, there were no church gatherings allowed and people couldn’t go to salons or restaurants, some made their own beers, some went back to their roots and made umqombothi (traditional beer). And remember the debate about cigarettes?

In September, we reported on the High Court’s judgement to set aside and review the decision to sell the old Tafelberg School site in Sea Point. High court judges, Judge Patrick Gamble and Monde Samela found that both the Western Cape and the City had failed to comply with their constitutional and legislative obligations to address apartheid spatial planning. This story continues as the City and Western Cape government are appealing the ruling.

In October we reported that a group of seven queer activists and artists had occupied a Camps Bay mansion. The group booked the mansion for three days in September, with no intention of leaving. They said their aim was to highlight the lack of safe and affordable housing for the LGBTI+ community. The matter went to court and they were ordered to vacate the premises.

The lockdown restrictions have since been eased but we can’t say we’ve survived this global pandemic because we’re now talking about the second wave. The health department warned that it was seeing smaller clusters of infections flaring up in Sea Point, Fresnaye and surrounds many of which could be traced to social gatherings.

As Christmas approaches, we urge you enjoy the festive season safely and responsibly, and to bear in mind the health department’s warning that: “Every single resident should assume that Covid-19 is everywhere they go and take all the necessary precautions at every point along their journey.”