News that made headlines in 2020

Coronavirus hit our front page on March 19.

As we reach the end of 2020, we look back at some of the stories that hit headlines in the Bulletin this year.

It started like any other, with matric results and residents complaining about vagrancy. By mid-March, life as we knew it changed.

The first time coronavirus appeared in our pages was when columnist Fiona Chisholm referred to it (“Fame awaits a doctor who finds a Covid-19 cure,” March 12).

The following week, people spooked by the virus materialised at Plumstead’s Lady Michaelis hospital. This was hot on the heels of President Cyril Ramaphosa declaring a state of disaster in a televised address to the nation on Sunday March 15.

At that time, there were 116 Covid-19 infections in the country. South Africa is now experiencing a second wave of infections, and as of Thursday December 17, the country had 883 687 cases with 23 827 deaths. Covid-19 also commanded the attention of our advertisers, with pictures of shelves filled with toilet paper; our consumer column, Off My Trolley and also our sports pages.

Our entertainment pages took strain, but we continued with book reviews and news of live-streaming events. Music lovers could watch locals such as Derek Gripper and a live-stream concert of Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté.

Meetings were also live-streamed.

The community and various organisations banded together to feed the elderly and the less fortunate.

Elise Malherbe, head of the Constantia Community Action Network (CAN), says their 21 soup kitchens have taken a break until mid-January. These operators have cooked two meals a day since April.

Their final drives for 2020 were 102 Santa Shoeboxes for the children in the Baphumelele Children’s Home, big food parcels for 140 families over Christmas and thank-you gifts for all the operators and their teams, 60 people in all.

They also participated in a sandwich-making record attempt with Ladles of Love.

Constantia CAN participated in a sandwich-making record attempt with Ladles of Love.

By mid-year, some readers were craving alcohol, cigarettes, exercise and takeaways. We provided recipes for humans and pets and a gallery of art by readers who took to painting and other crafts. Many readers learnt how to cook through live-streamed cooking lessons with Mel Jones and Jenny Morris.

Other tips followed, from homeschooling and parenting to dealing with depression. We also covered the lively debate about mask-wearing and included a pattern on how to make your own mask.Valley roads normally humming with traffic were taken over by wildlife with bird song and fauna caught on camera, a grey mongoose, acaracal and a water mongoose roamed the area.

Botanists had reason to celebrate when a new plantspecies was found in Tokai Park.

On the subject of wildlife, baboons have had their share of headlines, particularly Kataza, who spent a few weeks in Constantia before being returned to the south.

We also ran several stories on the impact on Covid-19 on the homeless. Ninety homeless people from Wynberg were moved to a Strandfontein site the City established to shelter the homeless during hard lockdown.

The City closed the site the following month, and this was followed by complaints from residents about growing vagrancy and land invasions.

Civic association members might have been  in lockdown but they continued to follow up on planning issues in the area.

Confusion reigned as schools planned to reopen.Wine farms suffered as Constantia Glen lost R2 million in wine sales turnover alone, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom for them because, despite all the difficulties of lockdown, some still won international praise.