South Africa’s children say the COVID-19 lockdown has left them feeling sad, lonely and eager to return to life as it was before the pandemic.

At midnight on Thursday, it will be a year since the country officially went under lockdown.

A year since SA was placed under COVID-19 hard lockdown:

Children says the lockdown has taken away some of the things they value most, such as interacting with friends at school and visiting the playground.

Above all, they despise the wearing of masks.

“It’s a long time when the virus is out there and you have to wear masks because the virus will go into you and you will get sick. I don’t like wearing masks because then you can’t breathe a lot. I miss hugging my friends,” says one child.

Adds another: “Last year wasn’t a year that I liked a lot because of the virus, people were dying and we had to stay inside. I hate it because it doesn’t let me go, it lets me stay. I want to hug them and I want to stay with the people. I would like to say to the resident, to not toughen up the lockdown because we need to go to school.”

The country is currently under level one lockdown, which has much more relaxed regulations.

However, the wearing of mask, social distancing and sanitising or/and regular washing of hands are still mandatory.

So far, South Africa has recorded more than 1.5 million cases and more than 52 000, amid concerns of a third wave of infections soon.

The National Institute of Communicable Disease (NICD) recently warned that mass gatherings and social events over the Easter holidays could trigger the third wave.

Citizens have been urged to take the necessary COVID-19 health protocols over the Easter holidays to avoid a fresh surge.