What would have been a countdown this week of the end to our initial lockdown, resulted in an extension when President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated that South Africans stay home longer to ensure we make stride in flattening the curve.
As much as experts have weighed in and indicated the financial repercussions this will have on the economy, we have to admire the Presidents vision of putting the health of its people first.
At the same time, April is Freedom Month in South Africa. The 27th of April marks Freedom Day that commemorates the first democratic post-apartheid non-racial elections. The elections were held on the 27th of April in the year 1994 and it was the election that saw Nelson Mandela elected as the first democratic President of South Africa.
Now as much as the day is set aside to celebrate Freedom in South Africa, the month is dedicated to highlight the end of the period of colonialism and apartheid in South Africa. However, amidst the lock down freedom might not be a feeling South Africans feel connected to.
The freedom of walking your dog, going to the store to buy alcohol or shopping with your best mates to having a meal at your favourite restaurant has not been allowed since the lockdown was put in place. These normalities that we are so familiar with might make you feel like your freedom has been taken away. But we have to acknowledge the reason this has been put in place is to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus which has claimed thousands of lives across the world.
Scrolling through social media there are still many South Africans taking to the keyboard expressing their dissatisfaction towards the lockdown. We have also seen a number of South Africans arrested for violating the regulations of the lockdown.
This is disheartening. By now we should understand that the only way to beat this set back is for us to step back. We need to adhere to the regulations and stay at home. Some might say this is an infringement of my freedom. But the reality is if we do not take the necessary precautionary steps and stay home, we might contact the disease and spread it to our loved ones.
So how can we feel the spirit of freedom month while being in a lockdown?
- Take an optimist’s approach. Look at the glass as half full. By doing this you are able to eradicate the feeling of frustration towards the lockdown. For example: you may not be able to leave you home to do non-essential things but this is ensuring you and your family are safe.
- Use this time to get creative with the family by building the spirit of patriotism. Look back at the struggle and how a number of South Africans fought hard to bring us to a free country.
- Our grandparents have a wealth of knowledge. If it is possible use this time to video call or voice call to engage them on some of their fond memories of a free South Africa.
- If this is not possible try getting the family together to watch movies about South Africa’s history.
The feeling of Freedom in a time when it seems like we do not have freedom can only come from us. We are the only ones who can steer our mindsets to see clearly as we wait out this lockdown. It is probably the hardest times to keep a positive mindset especially seeing that we are stressed about the salary for April as well as whether the food supplies will be enough. But we must remember that keeping a positive attitude will assist even those around us to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Let us not lose focus of the important month April is to us. Not just because there are so many long weekends, but because it signifies the time when the light at the end of the tunnel meant Freedom from apartheid for South Africans.
Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute. ICHAF offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.