There is much to rant about now, but let’s focus on kindness

Ideas

There is much to rant about now, but let’s focus on kindness

This harsh pandemic reality will pass. In the meantime, a little decency will go a long way in consoling each other

Columnist

This week a childhood friend died in isolation in a Johannesburg hospital after his organs failed and his brain was diseased by Covid-19. His wife could not touch him for days and his daughter abroad could not whisper love and appreciation in his final hours. Just like that, a man in his prime was gone. Whatever else happens around us, there is a great need to be gentle and kind to ourselves and others in these pandemic times.

I was going to be harsh this morning about things that disturb me about school and society. I was going to rage against the assassination of a principal on the grounds of his Buyani Primary School in Finetown, Gauteng. Lazarus Baloyi was a South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) official in Ennerdale and one immediately wonders if this had something to do with the corruption reported in the Volmink Report on the union, the recommendations of which minister of basic education has done little to implement. Imagine there were young children on the premises who would be scarred for life by this murder. For the children and the teachers, where would the softness come from, the love and the embrace?

Then I thought I might devote this column to that intriguing development at the University of Cape Town (UCT) at the weekend, where, in an instant, the name of Smuts Hall residence was changed to Upper Campus Residence until a more suitable designation could be found. The Chair of Council boasted that this action showed how far UCT had come under its new leader; one could argue that this impulsive act showed the opposite, how far this great university had not come since it burnt and covered up artworks. The move to change the name by the muscular charge of the EFF leadership of the SRC sounded like a victory for those of us who believe in symbolic restitution. But was it?..

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