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A whole new world: Reflections after a week of lockdown

Is anyone else feeling a bit saturated with the barrage of online information?

Anyway, after a week of lockdown in South Africa I have discovered a few things about myself:

1. I’m pretty good at Wii tennis.

2. A driveway is enough to get a very decent 30-minute workout in. My friends on Strava have discovered the same thing – check their activities…

3. I am beginning to understand the whole SADD issue in the northern hemisphere and am grateful when the sun comes out… particularly as we hit Autumn in South Africa.

4. In lockdown I’ve realised I’m still unwinding from my hectic life, and have decided to grow a beard.

Besides all this, the weightier issues of existence and livelihood haunt me in this current scenario and for the the road ahead. We all intrinsically know and understand that the world has changed, but we have yet to discover how. What does it look like to work from home? How do we actually put food on the table? How do we get around issues of limited resources, communication from home and a completely different work schedule with kids in the mix?

Prior to the lockdown, my brother pointed me to a blog from his boss at the company he works for. This company has been working remotely since inception, and the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks, according to him:

Remote is better for families. It is better for the planet. It is better for the individual. It is better for the collective.

Peter Flynn: Work In The Time of Coronavirus

I’m intrigued by this. Yes I can see it’s better… but is it? It’s true that the whole social distancing thing has been a bit of a relief for many introverts (and extroverts are clawing at the walls)… however, the economy has been obliterated because so much of our world relies on things other than the Internet – especially in South Africa.

However, there are bigger things than just the economy. Last evening I discovered this:

But a sudden, extreme crisis – like a war or similar emergency – offers the tantalising possibility of radical change, of forging new alliances, of disrupting failing systems and patterns, of exposing bad leadership in the most unforgiving manner, and of bringing the most talented and dynamic people to the fore.

BBC World: South Africa’s ruthlessly efficient fight against coronavirus

Indeed. South Africa’s top leadership has been a blueprint for the world in the early fight against this virus, while further down the governance ladder there’s been wailing and gnashing of teeth, much of which we still need to discover as time goes on.

But the question, really, is what will the world now look like on a large scale when we emerge from our dwellings post-lockdown? For me, I’m asking the question: what does life now look like as a musician? My own income stream has been slashed from cancelled gigs and the market is now saturated with online music performances. To break through the noise, as well as the majority of South Africans’ limited bandwith at home, is a challenge.

The urge to compete, rather than help, is always default in most of us. It’s a good moment to take a deep breath. What are these “new alliances”, this “radical change” that the BBC article speaks of? It’s easy to get caught up in clambering over each one another to get a slice of what we perceive to be some limited amount of pie.

The truth, however, is that already, many South Africans are doing incredible things. And they’re not worried about the pie. They’re worried about something greater, something beyond this world’s changing existence. And I’m encouraged, because that tells me that these talented and dynamic people have always been here. Right now though, they’re just coming to the fore.

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2 thoughts on “A whole new world: Reflections after a week of lockdown

  1. I like you more and more every time i see you or hear you Ryan Calder…..i think we could be friends…..LOVE this article….you write as well as you can sing…..see you on the other side…….

    1. Thank you Mrs Meumann. I like you too.

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