/South Africans are angry after first weekend lockdown – this is why

South Africans are angry after first weekend lockdown – this is why

South Africans are “angry” after their first weekend under lockdown.

Covid-19 has been playing havoc with South Africans’ emotions over the last month. We have made a 180-degree turn in our emotional state; from being joyful, anticipating good things to happen and showing trust, to being angry, anticipating the worst and showing disgust and fear.

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Over the period, the most significant gainers among the emotions were anger, up with almost 10%, followed by disgust (+8%). In contrast, the biggest losers were trust (-13%) and joy (-6%).

These are the results of Professor Talita Greyling (University of Johannesburg) and Doctor Stephanie Rossouw (Auckland University of Technology), who, in collaboration with Afstereo, launched South Africa’s Happiness Index in April 2019 and recently expanded their study to include the analysis of the emotions of South Africans.

graph

Emotions of South Africans before and after Covid-19


Why are South Africans so angry? 

From the analyses of tweets, the team found the following:

– Mad at police and military, because of the aggressive and violent manner the Covid-19 regulations are being enforced;

– Angry about people being greedy and making money out of Covid-19, when the country is suffering;

– Angry at government for playing politics in a time of fear, and uncertainty about the future;

– Mad about Moody’s downgrade to junk status, “kicking the country when it is already down”;

– Angry about being isolated, cut-off, and having no way to release stress or alleviate depression and anxiety;

– Concerned about the increase in domestic violence, not only men towards women, but among all members of the household;

– Mad at not being able to buy alcohol (previously also cigarettes);

– Being stuck at home and then also having to endure load shedding;

– Lack of groceries after the rich bought everything;

– God is mad, this is a sign of his wrath.

Is there anything that South Africans are positive about at the moment? Well, it seems that in true South African spirit we cling to the silver lining in this storm that threatens to swallow us.

“Family time” seems to be one of the few positives. In this never-ending rat race, being able to spend quality time with our loved ones seems to be our saving grace. Other positives mentioned are “time for self-reflection” and “time to turn to God”.

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If we turn to the Happiness Index itself, which measures the sentiment levels of South Africans on a scale from zero L to 10 J, with 5 being neutral (neither happy nor unhappy) (see www.gnh.today), we note that the index stays under pressure.

After the significant lows on the days before, on, and after the announcement of the lockdown (23 March 2020), there was a short-lived increase in happiness levels as people rushed to shops and their home towns/steads (migrating out of the cities), in anticipation of the lockdown.  However, the happiness levels soon returned to the “new lows” we have been experiencing since the announcement of the first Covid-19 patient in South Africa (see graph).

graph

Happiness Index during Covid-19

As reality sinks in and the health and livelihoods of South Africans come under threat, it becomes clear that “Twenty Plenty” has made a 180-degree turnaround to “Twenty Catastrophe”.  

– Compiled by Riaan Grobler

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