Nothing and no-one goes unchanged
By Fay Kajee, managing director of Fountainhead Design
At the risk of revealing my age, I confess I clearly remember the era of Quincy Jones and George Benson. “Everything must change. Nothing stays the same.” While this is true of many things in life, rarely has it been more significant than during this time of the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the past 5 months we have pressed the reset button on the way we live, learn, work and play. While it has been a time of great suffering and sacrifice across the globe, it has also been a time of humanity, humility, learning, collaboration, reorganisation and self-discovery. Opportunists have emerged all over the place, from the provision of value adding services which we welcome, to the passing of absurd laws that cause our eyeballs to roll back.
So where to from here?
Firstly, let me state that I am fiercely patriotic. This does not mean that I am not at times fiercely critical of decisions and actions taken by government. In the early days of our State of Disaster, there was a scramble to gather information, consider various scenario projections, plan and implement our coping and survival strategies and communicate daily from a handful of trusted sources. Emphasis was placed on the health impact, behavioral changes, business support and risk mitigation. In a nutshell, demonstrate leadership, reassure and keep hope alive. Heroes emerged, big business pledged Kings’ ransoms, and critics were silenced. Little was left to chance.
Some 100+ days later, the landscape has changed. Some heroes are tumbling off their pedestals, others are emerging as captains of conspiracy theories, unemployment has spiraled, the economy is in nosedive, infection rates are scary and there is little comfort to be drawn from our relatively low mortality rate. A real shocker for me was to learn that the Eastern Cape government saw fit to redirect precious budget to a door-to-door education campaign, conducted by what can only be described as a hastily constructed service provider (read into it what you will) – and likely contributing to the spread of the virus, instead of adequately preparing the medical response. Other than updated infection statistics, one really has to search for substantive information on a cohesive strategic response to take us beyond our immediate health concerns and address the economic response that will shape and build our country. A dramatic and innovative change in approach is required to generate jobs, promote skills development, boost production and restore dignity to heal our society. Now more than ever we need strong and courageous leadership.
As citizens of this beautiful country we will continue to play our part during this change. Work hard, laugh harder, challenge what doesn’t make sense, welcome and appreciate small mercies, support each other, celebrate our wins, proudly defend and love our country, and embrace the spirit of ubuntu.