The COVID pandemic has continued to create a challenging situation in Zone 5, and vaccines are not widely available. Members regularly read and listen to Bapak’s Talks, which has been a source of support especially during this pandemic.
The membership in Malawi and South Africa has slightly increased, with a few openings and some probationers waiting to be opened. At least 10 members from Malawi immigrated to the UK. Since the Omicron virus the groups started doing remote latihans, and in-person latihans will resume should the COVID situation improve.
Nigeria has been out of contact with the Zone, however, with the International Helpers starting to travel again, it is hoped that a visit to Nigeria could take place in the near future, if it is safe. There are many elderly members now who are unable to come to the group anymore.
The contact person for Algeria sadly passed away from COVID in August 2021. No update on the members there can be provided at this time.
It was hoped that Zone 5 and Zone 6 could have a joint zonal meeting, but due to the COVID situation, this was not possible. While some countries are beginning to re-open, this is not happening in many countries across Africa.
Communication and activities
Communication remains a challenge, and it is very expensive to have internet. Communication is mostly via email, WhatsApp and telephone. Zoom is used if the electricity is available.
Again, due to COVID, there has been no outreach as there are still curfews. As in most countries, everything has become more expensive, and some members have lost their jobs.
Wings activities, enterprises and centreprises
South Africa has representative members for SDIA and SES. The membership was encouraged to consider taking on the MSF liaison role, but no one has volunteered so far.
In South Africa, a few members of the Cape Town Group are still continuing with their enterprise of buying, fixing and reselling second-hand cars.
Both groups in South Africa have tenants renting their latihan premises, which has lessened the burden on the membership for funds.
South Africa is the only country in Zone 5 who gives an annual donation to WSA.