Living in the era of COVID 19

There is little doubt that COVID has forced so many changes upon us, affecting every single aspect of life as we  knew it. It has affected our social life, our spiritual life, our business life, our working life and above all has introduced an atmosphere of fear. It is also this fear that has become such a dominant factor through the constant focus on combating the virus, through various forms of protective behaviourisms, the medical realities – the “flattening the curve” mentality backed up by all forms of social media that act as a battering ram to our personal, local, national and global consciousness.

The positives

  • Communal consciousness that has been driven by all the fear of this common threat to our existence
  • Awareness of human needs, concerns and consequences
  • The creation of human initiatives and tremendous acts of bravery and love – the extra activities beyond that of the state – the feeding schemes, care of children, health care and many other forms
  • The various rallying cries
  • The sudden consciousness of the serious discrepancies of our societies that this virus has exposed – even though it has shown no respect of rich or poor or status and has cut a swath across the spectrum – it has however demonstrated the huge divide between rich and poor, underprivileged and the privileged – the racial divides – even the whole aspect of finding a vaccine has exposed the fact that the rich nations will benefit first and with this has seen the incredible growth of the realities of being black and the immense groundswell of “black lives matter” on a global scale
  • Awareness of the need to find ways to adapt to the new normal with many creative initiatives developing across a very wide spectrum from doing business to church services to social living

The challenges

  • Isolation in life and when dying
  • A whole range of feelings and its side effects stemming from helplessness and the forced anti-social behavior brought by the virus – human contact / schooling / fear of each other that we have to overcome / vulnerability fears for the older generation etc
  • Poverty and joblessness and all the multiple effects that this creates
  • Increased rate of child and women abuse
  • Corruption in all matters dealing with the virus particularly at the level of governance and the anger that this generates apart from the chaos impact at ground level
  • Increased racism including reverse racism
  • Negative economic impact
  • Children’s education and various levels of education being affected negatively
  • The challenges of how to operate at the various sectors and levels of society and above coping and survival – what are the mechanisms that will get us through this pandemic and beyond toward some semblance of normality.

The list goes on….

Some interesting points worth consideration

I came across some useful pointers during the course of various readings and research which I give full credit to my wife Robin – Antony Robbins a motivational speaker set out some useful scenarios on human need that could prove valuable when looking into the interventions to reduce the harmful impacts of the virus – I have peppered these with some of my own thoughts

His analysis of human needs

  • Certainty -We all look for and desire certainty in our lives and all of which surrounds us – this  includes – the air we breathe, the sunrises – the experience of pleasure and the avoidance of pain  – the need for predictability and consistency which we strongly criticize when it does not happen or feel very let down  – positive identity  – the need to be able to control our lives – sort out our desks – create order  – investments /money relationships and the feel good aspects that comes with good relationships that we all desire at different levels of our lives  – job security etc – ultimately the need for the existence of GOD and our leap of faith to make this a certainty in our lives
  • Uncertainty  – life’s paradox  –  we love certainty yes , but we also need uncertainty – the challenges that life poses –the energy that drove and continues to drive our inventors, drives our businesses and their challenges to be different and unique in their model and products – the researchers for a vaccine, the need for variety  , the surprises– stimulating conversation and its challenges and conflicts that often go with it  – the need for conflict of differences – being different and all the challenges it poses – the proof of the existence of God with all of its challenges and conflicts and ultimately for the believer the ultimate leap of faith to put an end to uncertainty ( a neccessary step – we cannot have faith without the uncertainty)
  • Significance –the need to be or become a somebody in life – the need for identity and to feel needed. This takes on various forms – the identity with a group, a religious network, identity with a gang – branding –  This element has also its unfortunate impacts and effects when we have the strive for extreme significance to become the GOAT ( greatest of all time) the Hitler, the Trump, the Mao  the Putin etc etc  – this is a huge driving force with serious negative impacts when we have an identity crisis e.g. the San Community, mixed racial groups – individuals suffering from lack of identity and feelings of insignificance and the disasterous social negative effects ( alcoholism, drugs depression etc)
  • Connection and love –  the need to love – the deep inherent need to feel connected through a relationship, the family, the neighbourhood, the clan or tribe , the religious community – the business community, the deep individual love relationship with children being the fruit and of course different in other instances – the need for the God relationship whatever we may perceive God to be  – ultimately fulfilling the need to love and be loved
  • The need to grow – stagnation is very detrimental to our sense of well being – it runs against the grain of our divine creative energy that we are born with and which is constantly outward moving and seeking to create and grow  – when we stop growing we start the dying process – even as we grow older growth can continue to take place in a different form – our spirit never grows old. Businesses either die of survive based on their growth factor – investors seek the growth factor – economies are assessed on their growth potential or actual analysis – whole businesses are based on their abilities to analyse growth
  • The need to contribute or give  – this aspect is another fundamental reality. We cannot consume everything even if we wanted to and had all the wealth in the world. For one’s very own existence, even from a very selfish perspective we are subject to a force of nature where we need to give or contribute. This could take on a very altruistic form or purely part of self preservation ( the maintenance of the species , the family, the clan  through legacies etc) – the fact is we have to deal with our luggage and baggage as we cannot take it with us when we enter the departure lounge willingly, unwillingly or by surprise. The Bill Gates, Warren Buffets of this world recognize this and find ways to contribute positively whilst also trying to preserve a legacy. We need to give or contribute  in order to feel good and dispose of wealth which happens in many forms. Even the world’s worst displayed this need for the wrong reasons.

The COVID has brought to the fore a starkness to many of the above stated human needs and brought us to the coalface of reality where we have to face ourselves and our neighbours as never before with the accompanying challenges and decisions that have to be faced and made.

There is no escape – all are affected

The opportunities and creative elements that arise within the COVID

  1. Responding in hope and love

Many people have been responding in  hope and love through direct action in their immediate neighbourhoods through caring at different levels  – in Cape Town there are groups among the wealthy part of the city responding positively through practical actions to those of poorer communities– be it feeding schemes, small forms of job creation in the organization a and creation of piece jobs, small businesses, care for abused women and children and attracting even foreign concerned groups who make financial contributions as they become attracted to these efforts of human endeavour – something we witness happening across the globe -= These are seeds of hope, love and commitment to “ I care for the well being of my neighbor”  – “I am my neighbour’s keeper

There are so many ways and shapes that this can continue to manifest itself and build on the goodwill and awareness.  We need to become mindful of these efforts, seek them out and join the movement

The actions can be so simple but so devastatingly effective and impactful  – when need is recognized and responded to -when  personal need to give and the actions that flow are accepted  recognised and fulfilled – the feel good factor kicks in and generates all of the positive health syndromes of our body that supports our immune systems, the positive lucacides – the feel good syndrome that our own bodies generate – the human laboratory generates the correct chemicals without side effects or expensive research as long as we create the positive energies that come with our human responses.

The uncertainties of the COVID create the potential for certainties in our human responses

Making those simple calls to our friends, neighbours, persons who are doing their damndest to support others need that recognition and support – find them and be creative in supporting them as this will help strengthen their resolve and produce more energy  – look at the effect of the communities when sounding of hooters and clapping at the end of each day when the health workers retire home after a huge effort on the front – they needed this form of recognition and acknowledgement it makes them go that extra mile– we haev seen this in the football matches without crowd support – bless those who thought of creative ways to give such support and recognition to our frontline workers

Let us seek and strive to be mindful of each other and find ways to act in support – being mindful is the anti-dote to helplessness and resignation. Mindfulness generates creativity which in turn produces all the positivities and their respective impacts

  • Practical actions

Let us examine a range of positive actions in relation to needs

Children and their educational needs

The issues: parents have problems dealing with stay at home children and suddenly are challenged to care for them and to rediscover a whole support role which they are not used to or even able to cope with  due to their own inadequacies, creating frustration and leading even to  abuse. Not helpful of course is the example of SA chaos in educational leadership leaving a vacuum – fear among teachers backed by trade unions – this appears to be the scenario many of our poorer countries and communities. Even rich countries like the USA also have a struggle on their hands.

Lack of resources and equally mismanagement thereof has not been helpful– home schooling is a nightmare if parents do not have the technical and administrative skills to manage this or for that matter the disciplines and time when a great deal of it has to be spent on survival – even elements like water, energy and shelter which are often huge issues

The opportunities and initiatives :  creating small groups of learning – linking up with free networks like the Khan Academy which offers amazing online education  – the  issue where intervention are possible is through, accessing volunteers and resources – assisting with data bundles or wifi hotspots are most helpful as most families have access to cellphones but no money for data  – organization , use of spaces like empty churches where social distancing are possible – creative organisaton and facilitation of resources thorough networking and wide ranging appeals  – there is good out there by the multitude as we have already witnessed but needing direction and facilitating organizations with integrity – they need to be approached and feel needed with practical forms of desired responses. Churches across the religious divide have the good will and the networks but need approaches with practical programmes and action plans

Just like the “black lives matter” movement we need a similar movement to help our children and poor families in our communities who do not have the resources or sophistication to  take advantage of alternatives and currently face all the stresses of the current inactivity of their directionless children. I and my wife have 2 former abused children that  we look after in a village and understand this challenge

Help our children  movement is needed urgently and will become a reality for years to come  – if nothing is done we will be faced with the multiple effects of the fallout of this virus pandemic due to neglected children and their withdrawal to the streets and its negative impacts costing us billions in the end when simple social and  coherent responses can prevent this NOW

The wealthy, across the colour spectrum need to undertake an outreach action plan that is capable of harnessing so many unlocked human resources and potential – the opportunity and goodwill is there , as we have already witnessed but only needs to be unleashed, directed and organized. The networks and organized formats are there in the churches ( in the broad sense of all religions), social clubs, businesses etc


It is clear that the COVID has forced us to the increased use of technology to overcome the spread of the virus through social distancing, mask wearing and the finding of new ways of communication and social behavioural needs. This brings technology and uses to the fore in a major way but requiring a great deal of creativity with some expertise requirements and training in simple skills and comprehensive use of cellphones.

The technology: clearly the key facet here is the creative use of cellphones who 99% have access to and through this format drive through several awareness and educational empowerment strategies including:-

Communication to deal with loneliness and social isolation. – an isolated individual will eventually die from loneliness – a psychological study

Social networking where issues , problems and solutions can be discussed and shared – social communication through technology – every church, social club or whoever has this potential and can mobilize accordingly

Resource auditing – through technology is it immediately possible to undertake a resource audit of who has what, where it is available , how it can be connected to initiatives, what initiatives are happening how you can either support or be supported to start your own individual or group initiative, where these are available, what skills do you have that could be made available and relate to several options of needs in various communities or part of the country  etc etc – needed a data base with several categories like Gumtree ( national search engine )or even get Gumtree to create a special COVD category that can facilitate and support this type of COVID initiative …….

Virtual communication of ideas, skills, information and health levels of support and advice  – this needs data to support cellphones  – this can be done and is being done in various forms – the cheapest format is the creation of wifi hotspots which can later be turned into a small digital village or neighbourhood in other word a very micro mini Vodacom or Telkom etc  An example of this is in Gugulethu and a small village outside Lusikisiki in the Transkei where a former German volunteer  ( Peter Diez) who travelled in those parts and decided to undertake a personal initiative, raised funds through friends, collected computers which I helped him realize this vision through support of transport to South Africa,  technician support and training of a few local technicians to support the project in the long term – the result a small l computer centre in a beautiful but god forsaken part of the country. Today he ensured that a wifi hotspot could be set up and which now can served as a virtual education and awareness hotspot –  This dear friends was the work and energy of one individual – outside of south Africa!!!

Once we undertake actions that create technological communication solutions then it unleashes a huge amount of potential which in turn creates positive access to

  • Information about resources
  • Dealing and sounding the alarm of corrupt practices as has been exposed on a national scale
  • COVID awareness ( reduction of fear and stress) and the reality of various ways to cope with it including various forms of symptom recognition, nutritional supplements e.g. Vitamin D3 and zinc to support the lungs, exercise, various other supplements like Artimesia Anula, and a host of other immune boosting supplements that support the body in overcome the serious effects of the COVID a great deal of which can be grown or even found locally like in the eastern cape where artemesia grows wild
  • Small businesses that can be developed and resources that are available but need to be connected
  • Agri-sector initiatives including urban farming – growing yoru own vegetables intensively – special funding is now available for this world wide but can so easily be generated locally through support networks – WE DO HAVE THE RESOURCES IF WE SET OUR HEARTS MINDS AND RESOURCES TO IT AND NOT ALLOW PETTINESS AND DIVISIVE PERSONALITIES AND OBJECTIVES TO BECOME THE OPBSTACLES TO DYNAMISM AND OUR CREATIVE HUMAN SPIRIT

This is not a definitive article but simply some thoughts to stimulate our common creative juices in seeking together the implementation of solutions that we all have at our disposal but driven by our common human spirit and all that is encompassed within

Rommel Roberts


Hilltop farm