Nelson Mandela was once quoted as saying:

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

South Africa and the rest of the world have been brought to its knees by a debilitating virus.  We are scared, confused, agitated, and even angry. Human life and the economy are more fragile than ever before, and our dreams of ‘tomorrow’ are shrouded in a cloud of doubt.

Among the rubble left behind by chaos and uncertainty, however, a beautiful flower has blossomed. The flower is called Hope. Hope may be delicate in appearance, but she is fierce.  Hope has grown in the wake of widespread panic and has given life and purpose to the seemingly hopeless.

Hope lives here

In the past weeks, we have not only learned how to improve personal hygiene amidst a global pandemic, but also how tolerance and kindness have grown into a universal language, understood by all. We have joined hands, not in person but in spirit, taking this journey together, leaving no one behind. Our faith has become more resolute, our fighting spirit growing with each passing day.

We have undergone a huge collective shift in mindset.  While we are not suppressing our worry and grief, we have become substantially more grateful for everything we have. We are counting even our smallest blessings and sharing them with those who do not share our privileges.

Count your blessings

As we sit waiting for the next media headline with bated breath, we try to remain focused on the here and now rather than dwelling on the past or fearing what tomorrow may bring.  Despite our fears, we are cultivating compassion, recognizing love all around us and sharing it with those who need it most.

On Thursday night, all across the country, families, lovers, friends, and acquaintances enjoyed their last moments of proverbial freedom while watching the sun set over their beloved city. Will our cities still look the same when we resurface from our dwellings, or would they too have undergone a significant metamorphosis, just like we did?

One last sunset

Today, 27 March 2020, will forever go down in history as the first day of South Africa’s lockdown. For some of us, the next 21 days and beyond will be a lot easier than for others.  Through kindness, rationality, and our unwavering South African spirit we will get through it – together. The words to our beautiful anthem, Nkosi Sikelel’ Afrika, rings truer than ever:

“Sounds the call to come together,

And united we shall stand,

Let us live and strive for freedom,

In South Africa our land”

Please note that all photos were taken before the lockdown was imposed at midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020.

Compiled by: Justine Bishop

Photo credit: Josh Rubin – photos taken in Cape Town

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