MESSAGE FROM THE CONVENOR - Sasha Müller
The start of every new year is filled with expectation, hope and promise. Some of us even make New Year’s resolutions, a kind of marker, if you will, against which we measure progress and positive changes we have decided to implement for our own good!
This year is no such ordinary start. We cannot pretend that everything is normal and that life simply proceeds as usual.
The new wave of covid, in whatever iteration it is defined, has seen families and friends loose loved ones in numbers that are breathtaking and in volumes of infection that specialists tell us, exceed that of last year.
The statistics are not just cold figures on a spreadsheet. They represent sadness and loss and each number has a name and a face and loved ones around them. They hold deep personal meaning.
So to simply write about moving on, is to show disrespect and disservice to the realities that increasing numbers of South Africans have faced and are presently enduring.
To paraphrase the words of the cleric and writer, John Donne in his Devotions prose work, entitled, , "No man is an island".."the death if anyone diminishes me because I am involved in mankind". (1)
We are indeed, all a part of each other, our lives touch each other in ways we often are unaware of. Covid has changed this as there is virtually no family which has not been touched deeply and profoundly by its effects.
Amidst the mourning, concern, and fears, we have been made to look to each other and to find the strength and courage to face the future.
There is no quick fix, no magic recipe and no amount of webinars, seminars, speeches or eulogy can claim to restore every wound and hurt experienced through a covid loss. Rather, this is a journey, a road we are walking, and it seems best to be made together.
The PBF has only our deepest and most sincere of comfort to offer at this time. This is not the time to bandy about empty slogans or politicking. Our hearts go out to those who have endured loss as a result of covid.
The New Year 2021 holds uncertainties we have likely not experienced before, and it is beholden on us to care for each other and to show the kindness, affection and gentleness to our brothers and sisters like never before.
As we start the New Year in earnest, the PBF invites you to reach out and let us know what it is we can include in the programme of engagements that can perhaps assist as a platform, to support and encourage each other during these times of extraordinary challenge.
Finally, drawing encouragement from the words of Max Ehrmann, "amidst the aridity and disenchantment ,(love) is as perennial as the grass". (*). We are enjoined to show the care for which South Africans are so renown.
Reach out to each other, it is our safest harbor.!!!
With every good and earnest wish for 2021.
* From the prose poem - “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann