(Photo by Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

A women carries her child outside her shack at Imizamo Yethu settlement.

South African Government's COVID-19 Relief Plan for the Poor Stirs Debate on Social Media

While some South Africans have welcomed the government's plan to increase social grants for the poor, others are unconvinced.

Yesterday, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed South Africans and announced government's 500 billion rand-plan to boost the economy and relieve social distress as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. As part of efforts to relieve the financial distress of the poor and working class, Ramaphosa added that existing social grants would be increased by respective amounts for a period of time. While some South Africans have welcomed the government's plan to ease the burden of the outbreak on the poor, others remain unconvinced by their methods.

South Africa's total number of coronavirus cases stands at 3465 with 58 deaths reported thus far. Following 165 new infections recently, the Western Cape and Gauteng provinces now account for over 60 percent of the country's total coronavirus cases.

Currently on day-27 of an initial 21-day lockdown which was subsequently extended by another two weeks, poor and unemployed South Africans are becoming more and more vulnerable at the moment. While several celebrities the likes of Bonang Matheba, Black Coffee and Somizi Mhlongo have stepped in to help with relief efforts where they can, it still is not enough.

Thus, in a bid to prevent millions from literally starving, the government will be rolling out initiatives which will see the delivery of food and essential items to those in need in addition to increasing funding available to South Africans through existing social grants which are administered on a monthly basis.

According to the Daily Maverick, those who are currently unemployed and do not qualify for grants and unemployment benefits, will receive 350 rand each month for the next six months. Child support grants will be increased by 300 rand next month and 500 rand from June till October while all other grants will be increased by 250 rand.

South African Twitter is currently ablaze with some feeling the increases in the various grants are necessary and others feeling it rewards "irresponsible behaviours". Radio personality DJ Warras has recently received both backlash and support after he said that child support grants "incentivise people to have children they cannot afford to have". While DJ Warras has since deleted the tweet, the debate rages on.

Take a look at some of the reactions on social media below:

Image courtesy of Chude Jideonwo

Nigerian Mental Health Advocate Chude Jideonwo Shares Practical Ways Of Coping During COVID

We speak with the founder of Joy Inc. about the mental health challenges facing Nigerians, how many have managed to find effective ways to cope, and the online resources available to the community.

Never in our lifetimes have we experienced a pandemic of this gravity. As COVID-19 cases rise in Nigeria, Nigerians aren't just worried about getting the virus, they are also concerned about a host of other challenges: our lack of efficient and effective healthcare—which is overwhelmed even without a pandemic—the lack of appropriate data, and the high levels of poverty and illiteracy in the country that make it difficult to enforce the strategies that will enable us to handle the pandemic and keep it under control.

In a bid to understand how Nigerians are dealing with mental health challenges now, on the ground, due to the pandemic—which has led to a lockdown restricting movement and also social distancing rules—we spoke with Nigerian journalist, lawyer and mental healthcare advocate Chude Jideonwo, who is the founder of Joy Inc. He shared insights from his experiences with The Joy Inc., which he founded in 2016 to help young people going through mental and emotional challenges. He aimed to help provide young Nigerians with tools to help navigate the world around them.

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