Dear South African friends

As we go into lockdown in South Africa (and Ireland where I am) I thought to post some thoughts.

These are trying times for us all. Many of us will go through similar cycles of fear for our own well-being, and for our family; concerns for our jobs or income, and worry about how the financial markets will affect economies and ultimately impact us.

As we should all know by now being in lockdown and adhering to it is vital to “flatten the curve”, to reduce and delay the peak of the epidemic and protect healthcare capacity. The majority of us, if we catch this virus, will get through it with slight to moderate symptoms. However, we all need to play our part by staying home to ensure that the more vulnerable in our society – the elderly, those with certain pre-existing health conditions, our healthcare workers, and the poverty-stricken – are shielded from this virus.

To be frank this will be a period of great adjustment and it will test us and our relationships. It is unlikely that South Africa will only be under lockdown for only 21 days if China, Italy, New York and Spain’s lockdowns are anything to go by. This virus will define a generation, if not a lifetime.

It’s our choice, though, how we let this define us. A chance to reflect, to take stock; to reconnect with ourselves… to rest and recuperate. This will offer us an opportunity to be more mindful; of ourselves, our choices, our bodies, our minds, our family and loved ones, our friends and neighbours and colleagues; our communities and our environment. To evaluate our ultimate impact; are we the people we always wanted to be?

Maybe our lockdown will be a chance for us to catch our breath too. Let us achieve our own clarity during this period of introspection. A time to practise our gratitude, our faith, our humanity… to confront our demons. To listen, to learn, to teach; for parents overwhelmed with children at home, let this be a teachable lesson and lead by example. Show the minds of tomorrow how to deal with adversity, with grace and fortitude.

The universe has a way of teaching us a lesson over and over again until we learn it. This time of healing can also be a time of growth. When we emerge from this on the other side, we will all be forever changed but let that change be for the better. God knows we will all make a huge investment in that change!

Andre de Villiers
Chas Everitt Cape Town South

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