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Newsletter 26 April 2020


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The following was sent to all subscribed members this morning. If you are definitely subscribed but didn't receive it, please check your spam filter as it most likely ended up in there. 


Hey everybody,

I hope that you are all doing OK under these extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in. I can tell you that living under the regulations of extreme lock down in South Africa for 4 weeks now has been hard for me to accept, but I have come to terms with it. The serenity prayer has been helpful in that regard. I am looking forward to the day when we will be allowed to go visit our loved ones. We miss them terribly. 


What’s Happening In Africa?

Here in South Africa things are not as bad as they appear to be in the northern hemisphere as far as the spread of the virus is concerned. As of this morning there are 4361 cases confirmed and 86 deaths. Whether that is because of our warmer climate or that we went into lockdown early remains to be seen. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of solid intelligence around why things are so different here. I wish it were different because knowledge is everything, isn’t it?


At the moment we are in our (hopefully) last week of what they are now calling “Level 5 hard lockdown” and from 1 May they will begin gradually easing us back to normal life. Ironically tomorrow is Freedom Day in SA. If you are interested in learning more about this multi-level system this website has a very simplified overview of what is and isn’t allowed at different levels.


What’s Happening With Me?

Well, obviously I can’t work in photography until we reach level 1, so I have to re-ignite the other side of my business which has been somewhat passive over the past few years. This is web development and digital marketing, which to be honest is where I have always felt most comfortable. Over the past week I have been brushing up on a few things on the tech front and I am also taking an online course on strategic online marketing offered by Davis University. So far it has been quite enlightening. 


I do believe that there will be a distinct local need for small and medium sized businesses who have found themselves trapped behind the technology curve to rapidly bring themselves up to speed in this area, so the thrust of my approach is to firstly get them up and running with an online store in less than 2 days, and then secondly to help them build their store by offering support, marketing services and training. 


To ensure that I could actually offer this service I tested it out myself on my own tech site. I added WordPress, Woocommerce, MailChimp and a payment gateway in just a day. Right now I am developing the line of services and products I want to offer on there. Check it out here. I am also playing with the idea of starting a dedicated YouTube channel for this. 


What About The Fotozones Safaris?

Good question. During the lockdown it hasn’t been possible to get any information about bookings from the companies I use as they have all been closed. What I have been able to ascertain is that most of the lodges are happy to postpone existing bookings without any penalty, but cancellation refunds are proving very difficult to process for obvious reasons. The people I use are also freezing their 2020 prices into 2021 and given that the Rand has been totally hammered in this pandemic, it means that safari deals are going to be exceptional value down the line. Let’s just hope that there are some airlines still left to get you folks out here! I will be keeping a very close eye on the tourism industry and keeping you all posted, so be sure to join up on the Safari Zone if you aren’t already there. 


Community News

There’s been quite a drop off in new posts on Fotozones. I put this down to the fact that most of us are in isolation, but that shouldn’t mean that we can’t share old images, ask questions, fantasise about new gear or engage in a bit of friendly banter. Come on in, the weather is fine. 🙂


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Glad to know you are all right, Dallas.  I'm all right and my job is not really affected by the lockdown or COVID-19, at least currently.


However, as with most parts of the norhern hemisphere, the lockdown has been damaging many of the business in Japan.  The government seems to be very reluctant to support the affected business and act too slow.  I go out to the supermarket to buy food and daily necessaries once or twice a week and haven't used any public transportation service for nearly five weeks.


Hope the COVID-19 to disappear as soon as possible...

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"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius


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It's massively frustrating for so many people, Akira. We are at a tipping point here for civil unrest if the government doesn't change their current approach. The lockdown here is way too severe. The numbers we have do not support it either. Anyway, also hoping for a break in the transmission of not only the virus but the endlessly depressing mainstream media coverage of this. 


I did read that today they discharged the last covid19 case from a Wuhan hospital and movement is pretty much back to normal there. So it took them about 6 months. We just can't afford that amount of time here. It will not work. 

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1 hour ago, vivionm said:

Useful information and data here:



According to media speculation my city of Durban (they call it Ethekweni) will remain on level 5 lockdown even after May 1 because we are still seeing more than 10 new cases a day. People here are beyond fed up with this situation. We can't go outside for a walk, ride a bicycle or even order a takeaway. It's been 5 weeks this Thursday. I am fortunate in that I have a decent size house and a small garden to sit in. I truly feel for those stuck in small apartments or those who have small kids that demand constant stimulation.


There is also a petty crimewave happening with the homeless all wandering the suburbs looking for things to steal to get drug money. There are supposed to be shelters set up by government for them, but these people cannot be held (or helped). Really sad. 


Anyway, I don't want to be in a mopey mood today so I'll leave it there. Truly hope and pray for all of mankind that we will pull through this soon. 

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I agree with Vivion, hard to do but best ignore all the so-called experts on TV and web. 


My work (business administration) is not - yet - affected. I work at home and go out as less as possible.

My wife's work (international tourism) is severely affected. To Dallas and all FZ members; take care, stay safe and healthy, there will be better times.


Edited by Luc de Schepper
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