• Amy Knight-Dawson

[CV-19 Conversations] The Cape of Good Hope

Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

The Cape of Good Hope. This is where I live. And today, more so than any other, the moniker for Cape Town fits her to a tee. This is because South Africa moves to Level 2 of the lockdown today. And, this is a game changer for our country as we strive to strike a balance between saving lives and preserving livelihoods. For women in tourism especially. If you have been following the #IAmTourism campaign by the #SouthAfricaIsTravelReady media collective, you will see incredible stories of dogged determination, tenacity and bravery as told by the women of South Africa's tourism industry. We salute you!

Lockdown or knockdown?

What this means for all practical purposes is that certain liberties which we may have taken for granted five months ago are once again on the cards. South Africa is home to some of the world's most stringent lockdowns. Whatever our concept was of what we as individuals could endure when the state of disaster was first declared is vastly different to what we believe of ourselves today. We look back at the sacrifices from Level 5 through 2; the tears of frustration, the endless Zoom calls, the online workouts, the recipe swaps, the empty roads and today we are rendered speechless but happier. As a nation, we've had our collective mettle tested in ways we never thought possible. I have learnt so much about so many things that, had it not been for the 'Great Pause', I would never have. Believe it or not, I am grateful.

Image by Brianna Reak on Unsplash

Resilience is brilliance

Most of us have been faced with ups and downs, highs and lows both personally and professionally. We've witness lines blur, views challenged, proverbial walls thrown up and mud slung onto them. Some of it has stuck. We have seen nature take its course and in some places, reclaim its place as best it can, the absence of humankind's presence allowing. We've heard stories of dire adversity responded to by fathomless courage and above all, love.

In Cape Town, we tend to live in bubbles. This has been a 'thing' since well before COVID-19. We tend to stick to our own waterfalls and don't really venture beyond our comfort zones (read suburbs). This has earned us the reputation of being 'clickey'. We are also known for our tendency to be rather non-committal when it comes to 'making plans'. I specifically express that in inverted commas. Why? Ask yourself how many times have you heard a Capetonian say, 'We must get together!' only for a whiff of an invitation or dare I say it, a date for such ever to materialise?

Now, after being stuck with our flaky selves for five months and counting we crave the luxury of being able to making a date for anything that results in a human connection beyond that of our smartphone portals. A walk on the ever popular Seapoint Promenade, a trail run or mtb ride on the contour paths of Table Mountain or, a shot of liquid gold in the form of a take-away coffee from an owner-run barista van in Tokai forest. You guessed it...I live in the southern suburbs of Cape Town.

What is important to remember as we are now able to go for a picnic in a far-flung nature reserve or for lunch on a beautiful wine estate (yay!) or a humble drink at your local watering hole (yes, for actual adult beverages), please try to order items in those fine establishments that are locally made in South Africa. Those with a traceable business journey led by a local entrepreneur (preferably a woman, since it is Women's Month) should be top of your list to support.

The lockdown has taught us never to take making plans for granted again. It has also highlighted the scourge of loneliness which, in our usually busy worlds, is a master of disguise. We've had to admit to ourselves that we need each other. We need empathy.

Photo by Thomas Bennie on Unsplash

A mountain lies before us yet

COVID-19 has resulted in crisis of a different kind. That of conscience. Experiencing the human condition, stepping up and making a difference by extending a hand to someone in need. Relationships forged, proverbial bridges built and harvests of hope sown and reaped. Despite having more freedom of movement as of today, an uptick in the number of folks recuperating from the disease and the economy whirring back into action we acknowledge that the pandemic is not done with us yet. We need to continue to remember ourselves and respecting others. Wear masks, wash hands and sing happy birthday twice as you do, for as long as you need to. Try and learn it in a different language to mix things up. Heed all the good advice given to us by our health authorities. And remember to be kind, especially to yourself.

If you are in a position to do so, please consider pledging support by dropping goods in the trolleys found outside your local supermarket. Most have donation trolleys for the needy like PnP (Pick n Pay) for example in South Africa. You can contribute to the PnP Feed The Nation campaign. Although our virtual auction event held on June 16th is passed, the good news is that by heading over to COURAGE's donate page, you can continue to make a difference. Did you know that just R21 can feed a person for a week? Indeed, your bite-sized donation can mean the world to somebody. This is one of the coldest winters I have experienced in Cape Town and I know that if I am feeling it, the less fortunate are bearing the brunt of it without the benefit of many creature comforts.

I would love to hear your lockdown stories and how South Africa's phenomenal spirit of Ubuntu is reaching you. Please drop me a line and let's keep the conversation going.

My personal lockdown epiphany is that a strong mind is at the heart of resilience. We need to nurture practices that instill a rock solid mindset. That requires introspection and time to do that. We've had rather a lot of the latter on our hands of late. Let's use it wisely. Professionally speaking, its all about our network which drives home the premise that we all need each other and that really, all things are connected. And remember, home is where the heart is.

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