Weathering the Corona storm

Weathering the Corona storm

When President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on 11 March 2020 to prepare them for an extended period of lockdown in the face of the spread of the coronavirus, we all looked to the future with some uncertainty.

The president immediately moved to stop all outsiders from entering the country’s prisons. Even family visits were prohibited in the early days of the lockdown. He also commuted the sentences of 19 000 ‘low risk’ prisoners to allow for some loosening up in the prison population. Phoenix supported this move.

The prisons closure has severely affected our work, and is expected to go one for months to come, especially as the rate of infection of the virus is rampantly increasing. Phoenix facilitators have been left in a state of suspense, and most, experiencing economic distress.

Phoenix set about procuring and even making face masks for two prisons. Up to 1000 prisoners at Ncome, and 800 prisoners at Eshowe received masks.


The pandemic has also produced a serious economic slump in South Africa. Looking for ways to help mitigate the effects of poverty, Phoenix volunteers have become involved in sewing washable sanitary pads for girls and women as part of the online ‘Here4Her’ Sanitary Dignity Project. With the help of Muslim relief organisations, the first batch was recently delivered to families in Inanda, Durban, as part of a poverty relief project.