My Digital Story

Pandemic Pandemonium - The Narrative

On 23 March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of  national disaster and placed South Africa under Level 5 lock down with effect from 26 March 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The lockdown meant that we were all supposed to work from home except those organisations that were classified as essential services We were indeed in pandemic times.

The following day, after the declaration of the lockdown,  I went to my office to collect all the valuables that I needed as I was going to be working from home. I was shocked to realise that the whole campus was deserted and dead silent. The usual hustle and bustle of campus life was gone. We were indeed in pandemic times.

As I walked through the corridors, I could hear the sound of my shoes and the whole campus resembled a deserted village cemetery. As I  walked through the office corridors, I kept on reading the names inscripted on the locked office doors and , I wondered if I will ever meet some of these colleagues or rather if they will ever meet me again… as the news headlines continued to report on massive deaths across the whole country. We were indeed in pandemic times.

I went into a number of classrooms and I was welcomed by a rows and rows of empty seats. The sight of scribbled blackboards and whiteboards sent a shiver down my spine as I thought of all those colleagues who had left their handwriting on these boards. Those sad questions came into my mind again……Will I ever see these colleagues again…. Will I ever see my students again? Will they ever see me again? We were indeed in pandemic times.

 As I got home, I started wondering. Now that the “new normal” has come and from now onwards I was supposed to work from home. Where was I going to work from? I have a four-bedroom house and not a four-office house!  As I sat on my newly installed office desk in my bedroom, I just said to myself. This is the new normal. I now sleep where I work and I work where I sleep. We were indeed in pandemic times.

As I switched my laptop to starting the long journey of working from home, those three sad questions came back again to haunt my mind… Will I ever see these colleagues again…. Will I ever see my students again? Will they ever see me again? We were indeed in pandemic times.

Oh yes, the new normal dawned on me. It was no longer possible to meet my colleagues and my students physically in person. The new meeting place is online. I now meet them on Microsoft Teams, On Zoom, On Skype, On Whats App and on so many other platforms that have merged in this new normal. We are indeed in pandemic times.

So as I continue grapple to answer those three sad questions, I remain resolute that the pandemic pandemonium will come to pass and we will all overcome it. Together we shall conquer this diabolic pandemic.

As an individual, I can play a part and I will