If you’re anything like me, you’re probably still trying to fully process what has happened to the world in the last few months. The reality has hit close to home in recent weeks as the rate of infections in South Africa has increased. I had kept a modest eye on the number of cases globally but when South Africa finally registered on the Worldometer table I could not refrain from hitting the refresh button. The distant malevolence had arrived on our shores.
At the time of writing, we have 402 cases of Coronavirus Covid-19 in South Africa. Last night, in an attempt to curb the spread of the disease, President Ramaphosa made the bold decision to put South Africa in a state of lockdown for 21 days commencing on the 26th of March. This is an unprecedented move but one which will more than likely save many lives.
A friend messaged last night to say that the President’s actions will mean weeks of pain to avoid months of pain. While I agree in part with that assessment, I also know that the social and economic impact of this lockdown will be felt for many months and even years to come and we have to prepare ourselves for that eventuality. I applaud our President for his firm approach in these uncertain times but I also know that it is going to be up to us, regular, everyday South Africans to make this work. Which brings me to the point for the article.
Our purpose at Red & Yellow is to change the world through Education. We do this in multiple ways; through our full-time school, our online short courses and our corporate training initiatives. We also make it our mission each week to provide you with relevant content in this newsletter to make you think and help you grow. In light of the events that are unfolding around us, I can’t think of a better way to help us think and grow than to call us to treat each other in ways that demonstrate our common bond as human beings.
One of our 7 values at Red & Yellow is to be Kindly Respectful. We frame this in the following way: We treat our fellow humans the way we would like to be treated, with goodness and compassion. While we may not agree with their point of view, provided it doesn’t hurt anyone, we respect and encourage their right to have it.
I think this sums up how we should all approach the current reality. Many things are uncertain right now, life as we know it may never be the same again and at times like this, the temptation is to look out for ourselves and ignore the needs of others. This kind of thinking has manifest itself in the panic buying witnessed at grocery stores (I saw this just yesterday), the utter disregard for social distancing and other directives issued by the government and the bigoted ignorance with which some have treated their fellow human beings because of the origin of the virus.
Right now, we have an opportunity to change the narrative. We can help “flatten the curve”, but it is going to require us getting to grips with reality and resolving not to let our fears or our selfishness dictate how we treat each other. We can rise above the base notion to only look out for ourselves and we can be a force for common good in the midst of a constant barrage of bad news.
I mentioned earlier that our purpose at Red & Yellow is to change the world through education. If we can inspire you, the reader, to continue to act with kind respect towards your fellow human beings, then we have moved one step closer to fulfilling that purpose.
As of midnight on Thursday we will be in a state of lockdown and our interactions with those outside our household will be limited to occasional visits to the shops or pharmacy. During these times, and especially In the 48 hours leading up to the lockdown let us be those who treat others the way we would like to be treated.
Wesley Fredericks, Red & Yellow’s MD, is a brave leader who is committed to the power of education to transform lives, and produce Alumni who go on to change the world for the better.