We will fight it with torches, bricks and cutting machines, vow kids
Watch four young friends strategising on how they will rid SA of Covid-19
A “cutting machine”, torches and bricks — these are the weapons of mass destruction to be unleashed on the deadly coronavirus. That is, if a group of four children from a farm in North West get their aim right.
Farming mother Rika Ernst filmed her son, Pieter, 6, his sister, Minè, 8, and their friends, Katlego Dladla, 10, and Teko Mokgothu, 8, discussing how they would tackle Covid-19 after she explained the dangers to them.
Asked what they would do if they were in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s shoes, the four came up with a strategy “to make the virus go away”, excitedly discussing their arsenal of plans in a mix of Afrikaans and Setswana.
Minè assumed command, starting the conversation by asking her friends: “Hey, this coronavirus — we’ll kill it?”
Brother Pieter, wearing a blue princess dress and huge star-shaped glasses, agrees, adding: “Yes, we’ll kill it at night. We’re gonna touch it and look at it.”
Minè jumps in: “And they said it’s blue in colour.”
But Pieter disagrees, saying it’s red.
Minè: “Why red? You are lying, they said it’s blue and also has a hat!”
Minè continues: “We’ll take a torch and when it gets on our skin, we gonna kill it and we’ll also tell it: ‘We gonna kill you’. We gonna kill it with bricks ...”
Pieter interjects: “We will also use hammers to kill it.”
The children all agree and demonstrate how they will use hammers and stones to kill the virus, saying “this is how it will leave” SA.
But Katlego, also wearing giant star-shaped glasses, cautions them: “What will happen if the virus blasts or explodes and goes all over the place?”
“Yeww, I don’t know,” Minè responds.
But a plan is quickly formed and the little girl says they will cut it into pieces with a cutting machine.
Katlego mishears “cutting machine” and queries: “But we will not have a washing machine!”
Minè explains that they won’t use a washing machine, but a cutting machine, adding that she doubts coronavirus will blast or explode.
She wraps up details of their plan: “We’ll go out at night with our torches to look for this coronavirus.”
Katlego asks about people who don’t wash their hands: “They are the ones who are infecting themselves with coronavirus,” she says with authority. Her friends agree.
Minè advises people to count to 20 when washing their hands or sing Happy Birthday three times, but the counting must be slow to kill the germs.
Pieter then enthusiastically begins to sing Happy Birthday, but his friends stop him, cautioning him to focus on the plan.
Minè recounts the task: They will look for it at night with torches, catch it and put it inside a plastic bag ...
That is, until Pieter interrupts, saying they must chop it into pieces!
If you think their language is harsh, it’s worth noting another little boy’s anger about the virus.
Luka Perry Clark, 7, from West Cork, Ireland, made a splash on social media when he penned a letter to coronavirus after his Harry Potter-themed birthday party was cancelled last week.
He wrote: “To coronavirus, You destroyed My birthday YOU are the F-word.”
For the local army of corona fighters, though, their plans might not be so secret any more — hundreds of people have watched the video since it was shared on Facebook on Friday.
Speaking on the ease with which the children flicked between the languages, Ernst said it was important that her children could speak to their friends in their home language because it was a sign of respect for other cultures and helped bring together children from different backgrounds.
In turn, her children had taught their friends Afrikaans.
She said she was learning Setswana and, having grown up in the Eastern Cape, could speak Xhosa, Afrikaans and English. Husband Pieter jnr could speak Afrikaans and English.
“I know what [speaking an Nguni language] meant for me growing up ... When you speak another’s language, in a moment you feel warmth and respect and love — all bridges are gone and you connect immediately.
“My heart warms when we stop at a garage and children speak to attendants in their own language. It’s so important in this country and I hope this video inspires more South Africans to learn another language. It would change a lot of things.
“We love SA and ... will teach our children to appreciate each other’s differences so the next generation can overcome the problems of the past.”