Soldier diaries: Mbombela resident feeds soldiers deployed in the lockdown
Some of the defence force members who are deployed all over the country have been documenting their interactions with the communities they are in.
While some of the scenes seen in the streets, including soldiers punishing law breakers by making them do exercises, have been controversial, one soldier, Lt Mandisa Mahlangu, said earlier this week she came across a “touching scene”.
“A civilian member, Mr Joseph Mashaba, a patriotic citizen from Mbombela, was spotted serving biscuits and cold drinks during lunch time to approximately 30 deployed soldiers,” Mahlangu said.
Lt Mahlangu came across a very touching scene on Monday, a civilian member, Mr Joseph Mashaba, a patriotic citizen from Mbombela was spotted serving biscuits and cold drinks during lunch time to approximately 30 deployed soldiers.https://t.co/zUeBem4raZ#sandf #CoronavirusInSA— SA National Defence Force (@SANDFCorpEvents) April 1, 2020
“When interviewed, he made it clear that this action was a gesture of him giving back to the community and showing his appreciation to the soldiers who are also just human beings wearing a uniform. He quoted former president Nelson Mandela who said, ‘Be the change you want to see’.
"He said his plan is to continue to go to different locations around Mbombela where our members are deployed and give back until April 16”, Mahlangu was quoted as saying.
“He ended by saying this is his way of showing support in combating Covid-19.”
Mahlangu’s interaction with Mashaba was documented on the SANDF Twitter page.
In some areas, the soldiers put down their guns and were instead handing out pamphlets to community members, spreading awareness about the coronavirus.
Area Military Health Unit Mpumalanga | Pamphlets were handed to the people in the queue at Shoprite and our mission was accomplished as the shoppers testified that they have gained more knowledge about this disease.— SA National Defence Force (@SANDFCorpEvents) April 1, 2020
It was a similar situation in De Aar.
In some areas, the soldiers were spotted showing compassion to the communities they were in. When they were not pushing the grocery trolleys of the elderly, some were seen serving water to people in social grant queues.
Tell us about your interactions with the SANDF during the lockdown period.