Student’s Covid-19 struggles births books

Thaakierah Jefferies, previously from Athlone, now Rondebosch East, launches her second book 2020-2020.

Thaakierah Jefferies, a postgraduate linguistics student from the University of Cape Town (UCT), has written two books about the difficulties students experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In December 2020 she launched her first book titled 2020 and last year her second book titled 2020-2020.

Both books speak about the difficulties students endured while trying to finish their tertiary studies with many syllabus changes, some falling ill, online learning, and the fear of contracting the disease. The books contain numerous languages including English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Turkish and Swahili, as well as, Afrikaaps and sign-language.

She started writing the first book in January 2020 with the intention to put her thoughts to paper about the frustration of campus closing and the possibility of never going back. She plotted and planned and decided that the outcome of the book would be to give others a platform to share their experiences of how the pandemic affected them.

One of the stories in the book, students are arrested for breaking Covid-19 restrictions and when their friends try to help them they are arrested too. The story is told backwards, like many movies, she explained.

She said that she had the most fun writing the book, especially jotting down people’s conspiracy theories about Covid-19 but there is also sadness because while writing about the pandemic it is impossible not to talk about death.

The 24-year-old previously from Mitchell’s Plain, then Athlone, now Rondebosch East, said she hopes to write a part three soon. In part two she included a glossary explaining words like “mos” because she realised that many overseas people had bought the book.

“Including sign-language in the book was so interesting because the reader will have to picture the hand signs I describe. I included sign-language by including a webinar in the story line. My support system has really been my parents and my four sisters who really encouraged me and supported me,” she said.

Thaakierah said that one of the challenges she had while writing the books in between semesters, was when her academic writing started taking the form of her book writing and her lecturers warned her that she would fail if she continued to confuse the two. She quickly had to refocus herself, she said.

She explained that the book is purposefully written with grammatical errors because it is aimed at young minds hoping that they would recognise the flaws. She hopes to get her books into schools in the near future.

Thaakierah’s books are available at the Lansdowne library and can be purchased from her. For more information call Thaakierah Jefferies on 076 752 1106.