By Kabelo Mollo
Everywhere I go, I’m confronted by this phrase ‘welcome to the new normal’. Every conversation seems to be underpinned by it, and certainly every economic decision has this phrase at the heart of it.
The new reality of our lives. SARS COV-2 swept in like the proverbial thief in the night with no other aim than to wreak havoc on our lives, and livelihoods. It has successfully reached its goal. Our lives are absolute havoc. Nothing is normal anymore. There’s no longer a simple trip to the store to procure bread and milk.
There’s no longer a quick beer with the boys. Meetings are virtual, and we’ve become accustomed to telling Palesa she’s still on mute. That elbow greeting that seemed so foreign at the beginning of this pandemic has become standard; so standard in fact, I can’t remember hugging or kissing somebody not in my inner circle.
Festive 2020 was the most unique I have ever experienced. There was little fanfare, certainly not for the eventing side of life. The usual rigmarole that would accompany the period was distinctly absent. I couldn’t help but feel for my deajay and promoter mates who would ordinarily have enjoyed their peak season over December.
I also felt for folks who work high pressure jobs who normally take the December period to blow off accumulated steam. How about the kids who spent the bulk of the year away from friends and teachers, and the relative cocoon of school? Now those who can afford are subjected to virtual lessons, while those less fortunate are trapped in a purgatory of sorts, with no one able to offer a decisive conclusion on how to proceed. None of this is exclusive to us here in sub Saharan Africa, these situations are playing themselves out all across the globe.
At my station: Sky Alpha HD, we have adapted fairly well to this new set of realities. We are broadcasting from home on a daily basis. This means I can go to work in my slippers, and a shower has become optional. My female colleagues are even more enamoured with it as it has meant a particular restrictive item of clothing is no longer a necessity.
If Corona has any silver linings, it’s that many friends and family members have told me, and this time they didn’t even have to be burned! My fragrances have lasted longer than I’ve experienced. Again, if silver linings are you thing, there’s another.
My parents are pretty set in their ways, but what’s been most impressive is how well they’ve adapted to this new chapter. They’ve really been very efficient in observing the protocols and staying home. They’ve not clamoured to go to funerals and the like. Something more difficult than I realise I’m sure, as many of those that have fallen are folks they’ve shared kinship with for longer than I’ve been alive. Asking them not to attend personally must feel like an affront to them and their sensibilities, but still they soldier on. What I’ve found commendable is their new routines taking shape so seamlessly.
My old man, like many African elders, is wholly consumed by current affairs. To this end, he would generally spend his time channel hopping between news channels, and then sports on weekends. The pandemic times though have brought in a new normal for him, and it goes by the name of ‘Netflix’. My father has found a number of titles that tickle his fancy, but none quite as much as ‘The Crown’.
Old boy has been absolutely enthralled by this show, and I suppose the fact that he served as Lesotho’s High commissioner to the Court of St James for a period has something to do with just how consumed he’s been by it.
The economic realities are real as they are harsh. Small to medium businesses have been decimated the world over, while cost of living has shot up. Prices for basics feel like they’ve increased markedly and luxuries have had to be cut indefinitely. Every time I run in to waitrons who used to assist us at various places of hospitality in the capital city they cry about the lack of income. The pandemic has taken their jobs, but their expenses remain the same. Business owners haven’t been faced with this kind of outlook before. Ask them about a growth pattern, and watch a grown man/woman cry. It’s heart wrenching!
Anxiety is trying it’s damnedest to consume us, but we won’t let it succeed. In fact, even this virus must be made aware that it will not beat us. In the same way as those in 1918 eventually overcame that deadly flu, we too shall persevere and conquer this virus. I believe we will all continue to observe the Covid-19 protocols and where possible keep ourselves out of harm’s way.
For those working from or spending more of your time at home, come hang out with me daily from 16h00 to 18h00 on my show ‘The Big Time’ on Sky Alpha HD. We can and will see out this new normal, and soon it will just be normal.