April 20, 2021
By now almost everyone has heard or encountered phrases such as “the new normal” or even more hectic concepts like “VUCA” (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity). No doubt the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic threw the world, as we know it, into a tailspin. Suddenly we found ourselves in the world of uncertainty. We started having discussions we never had before regarding our reality and its volatility. Many became alive to what is important and began to appreciate even the insignificant. A colloquial “walk in the park” was yearned for. Just to make a point.
Our reality may have been bended by a pandemic. However, I submit that it is equally true that humans have experienced worse. Imagine a pandemic in an age where there is no advanced communication, medical devices and advanced science to treat or manage the pandemic. Without digressing I wish to make a point that the human journey is that of resilience.
There have been instances in history where cities were levelled by war, people left hopeless by unexpected life events like the emergence of a pandemic. However, through it all, what has proved to be consistent in every encounter is human resilience. Levelled cities were raised more majestic and what was a novel organism became old and understood.
Like most people, at the peak of the pandemic, when all was but bleak I subscribed to the notion of the “new normal”. But recently, perhaps controversially so I have stated that all I see is return to the “normal” and the “new normal” appears to be dissipating. Perhaps I am experiencing and observing the effects of resilience. Where things inevitably normalize. This is my personal opinion.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage lifes and livelihoods. The cost is too much. The best we can do, I would argue, is to sustain each other while the storm withers. We can do so by extending a helping hand where we can. Protect others by complying to established protocols to curb the spread and be generous where circumstances permit.
I agree with the view that many of the challenges we are facing e.g., economic challenges, existed before the pandemic and were elevated by the advent of COVID-19. Perhaps this is an opportunity for a different perspective on all old challenges and I do not propose a solution. I am however convinced that like many challenges faced before the resilience of humanity will prevail. Despite the costs that we shall count, some recoverable and some, such as the precious human life, not recoverable, the resilience of humanity will prevail.
I am reminded of the brilliance of Walt Whitman as he expresses the passing of a leader just when victory is achieved and laments “O Captain! My Captain!”. Even though there are casualties in this crisis, humanity will prevail. A “new” story will be written and the future will read it when things are “normal”. The human journey is that of resilience.
Though disasters may befall humanity, humanity has a future. At this point allow me to borrow from an age-old wisdom – Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you – this is the LORD’s declaration – plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope – I therefore conclude that the human resilience is ordained and divine.
Joseph Leotlela | Director