Conscience of a Centrist: Gratitude abounds in testing year

Johannesburg – This has certainly been an unusual start to the holiday season as the Coronavirus continues to rear its ugly head.

Personally, spending time with family was high on my list of priorities after having not seen my parents, siblings and relatives for most of the year.

This in my family means gatherings of plenty of people from all over the country.

Skipping the traditional Christmas get-together and New Year’s Eve festivities is a thought too much to bear.

But this is the price we all have to pay if we are to keep our families safe this festive season.

It has been a surreal year, yet we still have a lot to be grateful for.

I’m grateful for continued health and employment.

Not everyone has been so fortunate, as evidenced by the staggering jobless numbers we’ve seen this year and the more than 20 000 South Africans who have died from the virus.

I am also grateful for advances in technology, which have allowed us to connect with family, colleagues and friends via platforms such as Zoom conferences.

I am particularly grateful for our readers.

Yes, it might sound corny, but it’s true.

The pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge for newsrooms across the country and Sunday World is no exception.

The beginning months were especially rough with colleagues losing their jobs and many publications going under.

Despite the havoc throughout the industry, our readers have been loyal and continue to buy the product and consume our online content.

For that, I am truly thankful. The support goes a long way for a dedicated crew of young and talented journalists who probably didn’t imagine they would end up covering something like this.

We didn’t, as a nation, come this far to throw it all away. Let us be our brothers’ keepers and take the threat posed by the virus with the seriousness it deserves. 2021 will come with its own challenges but we will be stronger to face anything due to the experience we have gained mitigating against the virus.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to all frontline workers who spared no effort in saving peoples’ lives and to those who died doing so. We saw perfect strangers taking care of the needy, cooking meals for underprivileged neighbours, buying clothes for children from poor backgrounds.

As rough as this year has been, it has also taught us that we can rise to the occasion when the situation demands.

Let us rise to the occasion once more in the face of the second wave of the Coronavirus. See you in the new year. Stay safe out there.

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