• Melissa van der Merwe

Personal Reflections on the COVID-19 Crisis

Usually my monthly blog is on some important development in the derivatives industry or a new regulatory requirement which has been introduced. This month, I hope you'll allow me to be a little more introspective as I share with you my reflections on the COVID-19 crisis, and what I have observed:

o COVID-19 does not discriminate. It has impacted many regions (east and west, developing and developed) and when the world is faced with a common crisis like this, we can unite! It has been incredible to watch how countries have supported one another, shared knowledge and pulled together to find ways to combat the virus. I hope we can learn from this and realise that united we are better and stronger and more formidable, than if we discriminate and rage war against each other.

o When humans are locked down, the natural world flourishes! Have you noticed how quiet and still the world is when people are not moving about? I can hear birdsong from my office (which proved challenging while trying to record audio for the online training course!), the jackals’ call to each other in the evening, and there’s a stillness in the air. It’s refreshing and there’s a peace that comes with it.

o I rely on human contact and connection. I miss my friends. I miss being able to dash out for a quick coffee. I miss the friendly greetings from the security staff at the gate to the estate I live in, as I drive in and out each day. I miss being able to drop in to see my parents.

o I miss my frequent walks. I usually enjoy these with my two busy Jack Russell dogs - I won’t take them for granted again!

o Kindness is crucial at a time like this. It only takes one small thing to make a difference in someone’s day: phone a friend who is alone during lockdown; check if your neighbour needs supplies before popping out to the shop. Be kind to your children – they have not chosen to be schooled from home they are also worried about when their lives will return to normal. Support them and don’t be impatient (I have to remind myself of this daily!).

o It takes a great leader to guide a nation through a crisis like this. Cyril Ramaphosa has been the greatest example of this. He is calm and clear in his communication; he is decisive; he acknowledges the difficulties people are facing; he is firm in his directives; he is compassionate.

o This too shall pass, and we will be forever changed after this event. Perhaps we will learn to slow down, smell the roses, hear the birdsong, exercise kindness, and unite rather than divide.

#COVID19 #introspection #lockdowninSA

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