What is a ‘Hobby’?

Lockdown has us Googling ways to stay occupied now that the outside world is off-limits.

Just a girl, standing in front of a computer screen, trying to navigate and make sense of the world by asking Google things.

After 2 weeks of lockdown, my personal Google Search history varies from “how to tie-dye shirts” and “how to make homemade slime” to “oh my word I am dying of boredom”.  It suffices to say that for many Saffas, lockdown has become Hobby Month. It makes you wonder if we as a people have neglected a fundamental part of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Having Fun.

Okay, that’s not on there in those words, but it should be.

Crosswords are … Kinda Cool?

Now that Instagram is no longer flooded with “look at me at the beach, look at me suiping with my mates” and “look at this club I’m at” (which aren’t reeeaaaal hobbies, let’s be honest) the few accounts on my feed that haven’t adopted complete radio silence have found charming ways of keeping themselves busy. 

According to an infographic titled How the Hobbies of South Africans have Changed due to Isolation, it seems that activities we took as conventional and ‘old fashioned’ have now become hobbyist’s dreams.

In the Name of Sanity

If your stagnant Facebook feed is boring you to tears, consider these ancient, often overlooked pastimes. Because people did not die of boredom before the internet, and neither will you. 

For example, can you play chess? Like, really play chess. Chess exercises both sides of your brain, and has been proven to combat Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and helps build problem solving skills. Hell, doctors at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience in Bron, France, even found that daily playing improved the health of Schizophrenics.

If you don’t have a board, you’re a Google Search away from battling your dad over who does the dishes. 

Cooking and the word ‘fun’ aren’t synonymous for everyone, but back in the day housewives learned to ration during wartimes and with the advent of canning and pickling, a weird and wonderful world of vintage recipes was born.

Consider these glorious recipes as inspiration and you’ll be serving up a “fruit cocktail with character” in no time.

Lime Cheese Salad anyone?

The Prettiest Potato Salad Ever

Remember that carrots and peas in jelly thing your grandma always made over Christmas? You can make it. It might taste terrible but the joy and delight of making something new and strange using your long-life lockdown pantry is a great way to pass the time.

While you have your apron on, a good skill to learn from your mother (or a nice online YouTube mother) is the time-tested activity of ‘Shepherd’s Knitting’. That’s ‘crochet’ to us peasants. Crochet wasn’t always a peasant’s game though, as Queen Victoria introduced it to high society when she bought crocheted lace from Irish women who were trying to survive after the potato famine.

So while you’re lamenting the empty shelves at Woolies, knitting or learning some basic sewing will only be a virtue in the long run. 

Gardening isn’t just for old biddies anymore. And since buying seeds might not be on the table, you can collect vegetable cuttings and do the job just as well.

Check out this article on how to repurpose your Food Lovers scraps into a thriving counter garden.

There’s almost no excuse to be monolingual anymore, especially in a country with 11 official languages. But you don’t have to stop there – consider learning an endangered language like Hawaiian, Navajo or Scottish Gaelic, which can all be found on the Duolingo App.

If that doesn’t tickle your linguistic taste buds, you can always learn Klingon or High Valyrian (also on the app)  to impress a cutie at Comic-Con.


Being at home doesn’t have to be unproductive- for centuries people have found ways to enrich themselves around their homes. Train your dog to bring you snacks. Scrub your toilet. Dig out Monopoly and start a family feud. The possibilities are as endless as your Google Search history. 

Read more Guilty Googles here.

Guilty Googles is an anonymous opinion column focusing on tackling social and cultural topics using the angle of a Google search. Sometimes it’s embarrassing, sometimes it’s fascinating, sometimes it’s hilarious. But it’s *always* entertaining.