By Frank Thompson
In our house the lockdown began 50 days ago when the scheduled departure date for a much-anticipated trip to Italy came, and went. Our group got together online and drank to our trip in a virtual toast that called to mind the famous toast that sustained the Jewish diaspora for hundreds of years – “Next year in Jerusalem!”.
Since then we have survived the ever-increasing constriction of a confinement that seems never to relinquish its rigour and grip on our lives.
In these circumstances, where we literally have to know what to do (with ourselves) when we don’t know what to do, one of the answers is to let the mind wander over some of the special things that happen, and to marvel.
I remember attending a presentation in 1994 given by the fledgling ANC government as part of its hearts and minds campaign to win over corporate South Africa. The star attraction was a youthful and charismatic Tokyo Sexwale. Both he and the party were then enjoying the full bloom of the liberation honeymoon but the shrewd Sexwale knew that not everyone was won over, especially in conservative corporate SA.
“I have news”, he said (my memory is inexact, but the gist is right), “Tomorrow the sun will rise again in the east and everything really important will be as it should be”. I remember thinking at the time that this was just so much trite bombast, although I may have used another term.
Now, as we wonder how the country will extricate itself from the python squeeze of the COVID- exacerbated recession, how one longs for the reassurance of those simple words and the simple certainty they convey. And they remain true. This too shall pass, and the sun will rise again, in the east again.
So will the moon. In the last week, the skies have finally cleared over Gauteng and the moon sightings have been spectacular in the crystal air. It has been a revelation to step out each evening and watch the moonrise. Day by day her belly has pushed out, so reminiscent of the pregnancy that brings at this same time such joy, and anxiety, to our family. Full moon has come and gone and we know the cycle will continue, reassuring in its clarity, simple beauty, and certainty.
Both the moon and the impending young life are sharp reminders of the sheer normality of what we are living through. Humanity has experienced, and survived, far worse in its brief cosmic existence. We are equipped to endure and need only to make sure our planet is taken care of and remains a good home for our new grandchild, and all those who come after.
Frank Thompson is an Associate of Lead with Humanity. He has a track record of strategic leadership in listed companies of over 40 years which has taught him to strive for sustainable people-driven solutions. A passionate South African, Frank is keen to share his expertise and insight in strategy and leadership.
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