The loneliness of a long-distance trucker has been well-documented over decades. But amidst Lockdown and Covid-19, it’s the quietness on the roads and in the towns that drivers find extremely disconcerting………….
“It’s just so quiet on the roads,” say Macfarlane Sedibe and Hector Radebe, both of whom work for Vector Logistics in Midrand, Gauteng. “We are often totally alone on the road – occasionally we see a car or truck. In all our years of driving, we have never experienced this before”.
“Since Lockdown, I have not even seen one taxi on the road – now that’s really strange!” adds Macfarlane.
Macfarlane’s and Hector’s work as truck drivers take them around the country – to all provinces, with the exception of the Western Cape. They spend many hours a week in their cabs. When travelling to places such as Upington in the Northern Cape, they can spend up to six days in their cabs.
Because of the quietness, the two are nervous to stop during their daily travels. “It is eerie, this extreme calm. It’s like we are waiting for something to happen, but nothing ever does”.
Macfarlane says that everyone is talking about Coronavirus, all the time. People are worried. He stays with his wife and three children, who are 14, seven, and four years of age. “My children know a lot about the virus,” he says. “We watch the news all the time – we don’t even watch soapies anymore! The news is on all the time”.
Hector, who also has three children, all adults, adds: “Every time I leave for work, my children say to me: “Daddy, please be careful, please wear your protective clothing – your gloves and masks – and remember to sanitise!”
“Vector Logistics is doing the best they can to assist us,” adds Macfarlane. “They give us Personal Protective Equipment, they make sure we have what we need to travel safely”.
Despite the chaos that Covid-19 has created, Macfarlane and Hector continue to love their jobs as truck drivers. “We are part of Essential Services and are proud to be able to deliver food to our principals and customers,” they say.
Their parting awords: “Take Coronavirus seriously. To our fellow truck drivers, we say: on the days you are not working, please stay at home. Sanitise and stay at home!”