Life is tough for everyone in South Africa amid the global pandemic. For some more than others, with the psychological impact of isolation causes deep feelings of desolation and internal instability.
The devastating impact of Covid-19 impossible to measure. Some have lost family members; others fight against Covid-19 in hospitals; others have lost their minds, even if for a moment, a minute, a day or a few days. Not a single person has been able to escape unscathed from this time in history.
I, such as many others, pondered whether it would be a good idea to leave to another land, as the gut-wrenching pain of seeing mass tragedy and suffering became almost unbearable. For those who have been working on the front lines, it has been tumultuous.
Essential services such as the media, keeping up with the death toll and every development surrounding Covid-19, or the miracle medic workers risking their lives in the struggle to save others, as well as the delivery workers going door-to-door, day and night, each person has faced the psychological, emotional, physical impact of the virus.
Although this societal and global challenge has been different on many levels to what would be traditional ‘warlike’ conditions, this is in every way still a war, a war against a virus. The removal of our civil rights, the complete ban of tobacco and alcohol, curfews, and electricity blackouts, our worldly comforts ripped from our grasp and thrown into the abyss of a global pandemic that was both unanticipated and unparalleled scientifically.
Life in solitude was at first, terrifying. For many of us, it hit us at different points, in different ways. Forcing us to face the demons within that we had buried, past sins forgotten and issues swept under the rug. Friendships have changed, relationships ended, and alliances formed. The virus has, in essence, changed everything. Those who held great importance before may seem insignificant now, and the people who seemed insignificant may have been the very anchor that saved you.
We have been in lockdown down for four months. I have seen so many beautiful acts of kindness, amongst neighbours, friends and strangers. The way we interweave as society has changed. I’m proud to know who my neighbours are, and I enjoy leaning out of the window to have conversations or hearing laughter outside, the comfort of others in the distance becomes a saving grace. The small and unnoticed things before that may have seemed neither relevant nor important.
I have deep faith and hope in the resilience of this nation. I believe that ultimately as South Africans, we are mentally and emotionally equipped to prevail, as we have done in the face of many challenges in previous times.
Although the unexpected change and transformation of society in any form can be deeply unsettling, it also brings with it, a new start. Let us look upon tomorrow with fresh eyes. As we all walk bravely into the unknown, let us cherish this time for its ability to bring a family together, couples closer or to provide closure. As a wise person once said, “If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.” Introspection, on a personal level and, as a society, on the whole, has been entirely necessary. The discourse of where we, as humanity, are headed, has been long overdue.
There is a difficult journey ahead, a journey in which we are not alone, but rather, a journey in which we are all in this together.