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Living for Others

May 6, 2020

Alert Level 4 – Exercise 6-9 am

On the 1st of May, South Africans were blessed to wake up to a beautiful day and start exercising, with some sense of freedom. The feeling of relief and joy was palpable as citizens donned their colourful training gear and either walked, ran or cycled on our roads and promenades.

I have never been greeted so often on one run, and I found the experience uplifting. The online movement of ‘Together, Apart’ sprung to mind. As a keen runner, the “freedom” to run within a full 5km radius of my home was both euphoric and liberating, but it paled in comparison to the excitement expressed by my two dogs who finally got to drag me around my hood.

The world online

When I arrived home, I immediately uploaded the run, which is then displayed on a well know athletic app, and the kudos started flying in from fellow runners. There is a saying in the running community, ‘if a run does not show on Strava, it never happened’.

A glance on some social media platforms started to dispel some gloom and displayed the ubiquitous image of the Ghanaian pallbearers behind all the folks that descended on Sea Point.

WhatsApp groups commenced debating the logic of the measures stated in level 4 of the lockdown with a particular focus on the prohibition of the sale of liquor and cigarettes, and golfers were pleading their case to open courses. Conspiracy theories abound that ministers are making decisions that assist those from the underworld to profiteer.

Social media does, however, allow people to vent their frustrations and share experiences which can provide both comic relief and some useful information. How else did we know that we had to rush dinner to get ready for the President’s State of the Nation addresses?

Beyond the rose-tinted glasses

I am an eternal optimist, but one needs to occasionally remove the rose-tinted glasses at times and smell the proverbial coffee. The economic damage caused by the virus and the lockdown measures will hurt South Africa for quite some time, and these recent events will exacerbate the retirement and healthcare challenges. Our financial services industry will have to quell our natural competitive instincts, and we will have to cooperate with one another for the greater good.

Living for others is a rule of nature. We are all born to help each other

The environment seems to be fighting back with clearer skies and birds and animals returning to former habitats, which will hopefully motivate us to display more urgency and responsibility towards climate change once we shift our focus from combating this disease.

A third of the year has passed, and we are living through times that our future generations will no doubt study as a time ‘when the world changed forever.’

Our hope is that South Africans navigate the remaining lockdown phases with a sense of responsibility and that we adapt to running our businesses in a different fashion that allows us to recover both from the economic and health predicament.

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