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Friday, 9 April 2021

Life in the time of COVID-19


By Jillian Viljoen

Have you read the novel “Love in the time of cholera” by Gabriel García Márquez? It chronicles the love story of two individuals who were prevented from being together due to the age old criteria of class distinction and social standing, and their subsequent reunion, years later, during a cholera outbreak. The title of the novel gives an idea of what the novel is about but, to understand the journey of these individuals, you need to follow their story through the intricate narrative outlined by the author. The title alone does not do the story justice.

If we were to write a story titled “Life in the time of COVID-19”, what would that title convey? Would that title give the reader an idea of the content of the story? Would anyone question whether or not the content is fact or fiction?

Life in the time of COVID-19 could be anyone’s story. It could be a collection of people’s experiences

throughout the world because we all face the pandemic daily. We would instinctively know that the content is fact because the whole world is facing the same pandemic; the same challenge/s. We all know of family, friends and loved ones who have been affected by the pandemic. We have all been affected by its devastation. COVID-19 has left a trail of death, loss, fear, tears, uncertainty and a whole range of negative emotions as it tightens its grip globally. Its trail of destruction is seen in the increase in infection rates and the rising mortality rates. No-one is exempt; no one can escape the COVID-19 reality. The protocols, which we are all familiar with, are precautionary measures to safeguard us from being infected but they do not dispel our anxiety and misgivings. All aspects of our lives have been affected in one way or another. Nothing will ever be the same again.

As we face this common enemy, we are comrades in arms. Our neighbours’ loss is our loss. We share in our friends’ tears. We stand together with our communities when a loved one is laid to rest. We rejoice with families when their loved ones recover.

Life in the time of COVID-19 has taught us that race, religion, socio-economic conditions, languages, gender and all other barriers which divided us in the past do not matter. The virus is no respecter of persons. We are united in grief and we mourn with our brothers and sisters across the globe as a human race. Humanity is under attack and we need to support each other globally against this invisible enemy which is ravaging the world. A prayer, a word of support, a kind word or deed and any other act of kindness will go a long way to show that we care.

So, if someone was to read your story of “Life in the time of COVID-19”, how would it begin and how would it end? Would it be an inspirational story to inspire the readers never to give up hope and to remind them that they are not alone in their experiences? Will it convey sympathy or empathy? What legacy or message would you like to leave behind? The narrative of your story is in your hands. Use it wisely.



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