Coronavirus: Time to Be Bigger Than Ourselves

The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation strongly supports the more muscular regulations announced by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa tonight in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The establishment of a public/private sector fund to help South Africa save lives and support the economy, the preparation of quarantine centres, measures to support small businesses and imposition of a stay-at-home, among other measures announced tonight, are indicative of decisive leadership when the country needs it most. The generous donation of seed funding to the special Covid-19 fund by some of South Africa’s most successful business families is wonderful affirmation of the human family that we are.

While isolating ourselves from each other seems at odds with the inter-dependent character and needs of humanity, we must find new safe ways to connect to and support each other through this unprecedented crisis. We must, in particular, do everything we can to prevent the exposure of vulnerable groups to the virus.

All over the world, the virus is challenging individuals and societies to think beyond themselves and consider the impact of their actions on others; to act as sisters and brothers, to care for others through taking care of themselves.

South Africans have watched the virus spread through European countries with growing fear. Now it is here, and the number of infections is growing.

It is time to maximise our efforts to prevent Covid-19 from rampaging through our poorer communities, many of which are overcrowded and without decent sanitation. Our people don’t have the money to stockpile food, or buy face masks and sanitizers.

It is time for each and every one of us to take personal responsibility for not spreading the virus while taking special care to minimise the risk to the most vulnerable among us, including our elders.

It is time for South Africans to reach across the inequity which divides us. We are because of others; we cannot do it on our own.