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Covid-19 and Navigating Our Way Into a New World

By April 15, 2020Covid-19

It’s Day 20 of the South African lockdown and to be honest it has taken me this long to feel energised enough to write down my thoughts and feelings. My prime instinct has been to spend time loving and caring for my family. The threat of this virus is particularly scary because my husband is immune-compromised having had a kidney transplant in September 2019. He is in a high-risk category should he become infected. We are and will need to continue being strict about social distancing for the foreseeable future – one of the many “new normals” for our family and many others.

Obviously one of the most significant threats during lockdown is that those with no money or means to acquire food will suffer. And what is becoming increasingly clear is the role that food plays not only in providing sustenance for life but also in bonding families and communities. I was raised in a Muslim household where the sharing of food with others is viewed as an intrinsic part of life. My mom would often set our table at mealtimes with an extra setting in case an unannounced guest should arrive while we were eating. I’m sure that for all those who intend fasting this Ramadaan – the month of fasting will start while we are on lockdown – it will be strange not to participate in the traditional food swopping with neighbours and family before breaking the fast after sunset each day. Another new normal will need to be practiced, perhaps in the form of ‘Zoom chats’, who knows!

The outpouring of energy and goodwill in and between communities to provide food and support to the most vulnerable in our society has been so heartening. And we are proud that many of our partners that we have worked with to protect, restore and regenerate ocean health have stepped up to ensure food security in local communities.

One of these is the Strandfontein-based Nine Miles Project run by Nigel Savel that provides mentorship and support to at-risk youth in the areas of Cape Town, Elands Bay and St Francis Bay. Their feeding scheme is providing 1 500 meals a day and they need your support. Please consider a donation to help them continue supplying this vital service.

Our new partnership with Bruce Jack Wines is focused on keeping the oceans clean and healthy. The company has shifted the focus of its HeadStart Trust from music education to help keep learners in school to food relief to help communities during this pandemic. HeadStart will be using their farming-related trips to Cape Town to collect food donations from Capetonians every Wednesday. Any and all food items will be gratefully received, so the next time you go shopping, please buy a few extra cans of something, or some form of starch like rice, flour or mielie-meal. Please call or preferably WhatsApp Nasreen (074 793 8895) with your address and name to arrange collection. Or make a direct donation to HeadStart:

Name: The HeadStart Trust
Bank: RMB (Rand Merchant Bank)
Branch: 202709
Account: 62845089110
Reference: Include the word RELIEF with your reference

We are missing the sense of connection with planet and the rhythm of ocean and moon at our monthly new moon cleanups at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg. But once lockdown is over and we are allowed to resume beach cleanups it will be interesting to see what we find on our beaches and in our tidal pools – hopefully far less trash and greater levels of marine biodiversity. We look forward to sharing more of our love for the ocean with you when the time is right.

“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

Arundhati Roy 2020

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