Firstly, as a Muslim, I never thought that I would see the day that we are not allowed to have a gathering on a Friday at the masjid.
The jumu’ah congregational prayer is the most important one of the week; it is compulsory for Muslim men, and missing it on purpose is regarded as a grave sin.
Under the lockdown regulations, big gatherings have been banned, and that means we can’t go to mosque at all now.
But the good that came from it is that we are now performing our prayers at home with our families.
For Christians of course, it is sad as well, as they can no longer have the Sunday services, not to mention the big one coming up this weekend - Easter.
The same goes for all other religions practised in our rainbow nation.
But I’ve come to realise that it doesn’t matter whether we have a building in which to serve God or not, what is important is that we can pray and that we have the freedom to uphold our various religions without fear.
It is nevertheless quite painful not to have those joyful congregational prayers, which we will hopefully appreciate so much more after this lockdown comes to an end.
I do think that social media will impact religion in a big way, where people will go to the internet to find inspirational lectures to listen to or watch online in the comfort of our homes.
Muslims, who have never or seldom performed salaah, can now watch online videos and learn how to pray thanks to YouTube and Facebook, and pastors are gathering their flocks every Sunday via live streaming.
Of course, these options have been available since social media was born, but it seems the Coronavirus has rekindled people’s interest in God.
With regards to cultural activities like the Cape Malay choirs and the Kaapse klopse, I do hope we beat this virus sooner rather than later.
There is no doubt it will be a big challenge for us simply due to the size of these gatherings.
A Cape Malay choir competition can draw up to 5000 people while the klopse brings no less than 10 000 people to the stadium each week.
By now klopskamers would have been open already, but because of the lockdown, where no more than 100 people are permitted to gather at one time, it is simply impossible to even have a practice session.
Yusuf Gester, the chief director of Juvie Boys troupe, sums it up nicely when he says: “If the situation remains as it is, then we will have to give carnival a miss this year. Our people’s lives are more important than a klopse carnival.”
The fear that the virus has put into people also plays a big part.
I think many of us will find it hard to relax and enjoy ourselves not knowing the health status of fellow attendees.
Hence I don’t see klopskamers opening until way after Ramadaan, which starts on 25 April pending the sighting of the new moon, and depending on whether the situation with the Covid-19 virus changes dramatically.
So the klopse culture could take a massive hit this coming season.
So I think we should start thinking of alternatives, like livestreaming competitions online.
The logistics can be worked out, but let’s face it people, the world has become virtual since the Coronavirus hit, and we have to think ahead because we simply don’t know how long this situation will last.
For those mense who do not see the arts and culture as an essential service, please remember it is music, painting, drawing, movies and reading that is helping us maintain our sanity during this tough time, and as it has done in worse times before this.
Imagine being in a lockdown without a book to read, a movie to watch, or music to listen to.
It is the arts that keeps us positive and smiling as we navigate our way through this pandemic.
With that said let us all keep doing our part.
Let us keep our social distance, wash our hands with soap and water, en bly by die huis kanallah, asseblief.
We have a hero in our president, who is showing great leadership during this pandemic, but he can only be successful if we play our part.