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Home / Opinion - Resilience and patience: Prerequisites in contemporary times – Part 2

Opinion - Resilience and patience: Prerequisites in contemporary times – Part 2

2021-10-18  Staff Reporter

Opinion - Resilience and patience: Prerequisites in contemporary times – Part 2
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Undoubtedly, Covid-19 has “messed up” things. It is a disaster. However, an argument could be that there are opportunities and benefits in Covid-19 despite its devastating consequences. In other words, Covid-19 might be a strength. 

It can be a strength if an attempt is made to turn the Covid-19 adversity and challenges into new opportunities and solutions. The skill of finding something valuable in an otherwise difficult condition, or situation, is epitomised in the Theory of Desirable Difficulty. As highlighted in part one, what often is seen as a disadvantage might actually be a strength, and what frequently is seen as an advantage might actually be a limitation. 

Thus, the quest should focus on finding opportunities in the current adversity. What benefits could there be in a disastrous situation such as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic? Strange as it may sound, there could be several benefits that came as a direct consequence of the Covid-19 situation. 

Forced training routines

Covid-19 inspired many people to embark upon various exercise habits. How good and pleasant it was, at the beginning of April and throughout May to June 2020, to observe multitudes of young and old alike jogging and brisk walking on the streets? It was a pleasant scene to witness. Some “fled” to the mountains for exercise procedures, or perhaps as an antidote for anxieties brought about by Covid-19. 

Many people were resilient and, thus, sustained the exercises until today. Those are the committed and ardent devotees who entrenched the virtues of exercise. Here in Windhoek, it is now common to find crowds congregating at the quiet Daan Viljoen Road, the ever-popular Auasblick mountain, on the streets and at the Independence Stadium for an assortment of exercise routines. Probably, not many people than what we are seeing today could have started exercising if it was not for Covid-19. Thus, the pandemic, even though painful it might be, introduced something beneficial by compelling people to regular exercise surpassing that which could have been the case without it (Covid-19). 

Mandatory return to beneficial foods

Thanks to Covid-19 – sounds weird – more people were compelled to consuming good and beneficial foods. Instead of opting for the convenient, but suicidal fast foods, Covid-19 necessitated the practice of eating healthier and advantageous foods. Personally, I have never eaten so much garlic, oranges, lemons and ginger in my life as during the peak of the first (2020) and third wave (2021). I believe the newly-found habit of eating beneficial foods applies to my fellow compatriots as well. It is within this context that the ‘Theory of the Advantages of the Disadvantages and the Disadvantages of the Advantages’ is apt and needs to be propagatedCovid-19 is a limitation, yet it has helped some people to adopt beneficial practices of eating healthier than otherwise would customarily have not been considered. 

Rekindling ancient practices

One practice that was regularly practised in rural African settings is the practice of frequent steaming. I remember growing up as a boy in the village and witnessing steaming sessions practised by the elders. Perhaps, it was practices like these that kept diseases and infirmities at bay in those days. The steaming sessions were skilfully, yet rudimentary, done by constructing an elevated wooden deck as a bench. A three-legged pot with water was then placed beneath the deck which was brought to boiling point. 

The person will then cover themselves with a blanket for few minutes. I cannot remember if some therapeutic concoctions were added to the water. Such practice was good for cleansing and healing opportunistic viral and bacterial infections. As life became hectic and complex, primarily, due to busy schedules and work demands, ancient practices such as these were forgotten, only to be remembered, and their power is clearly manifested, in periods of adversity such as in the current Covid-19 catastrophe. 

Finding spirituality and higher purpose values

Contrary to the pervasive belief that religion and spirituality are one and the same, spirituality is about higher purpose values that are founded on a set of undisputed universal human values. Religion tends to focus on an organised community-specific system of beliefs and doctrines. Spirituality resides within the individual and what they personally believe. According to Law (2016:448), the universal values that an individual might espouse, irrespective of their religion, includes altruistic love (being selfless and giving unconditional love that is based on genuine care and wanting happiness for others), integrity/honesty (being truthful and demonstrating alignment between internal values and behaviour), Ubuntu (embracing values such as compassion, respect, dignity, empathy and humility with a view of strengthening community or organisation, service (placing the interests of others before one’s own interests), forgiveness/acceptance (showing acceptance and gratitude rather than focusing on negative thoughts and experiences such as jealousy, gossip, failed expectations, hatred and revenge and gratitude/positive use of adversity (showing appreciation of positive outcomes and extracting positive lessons from difficult experiences). For Christians, the holy scriptures of the Bible uniquely summarise spirituality. 

I have never in my life seen so many people reading the Bible, and citing ancient proverbs, as during the current Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 has humbled mankind and taught both the holy and the evil, believers and non-believers, the wise and the unwise, the rich and the poor, the developed and undeveloped, educated and uneducated, that there is a greater force beyond the comprehension of human beings. Thus, many people found, or are finding, on account of the pandemic, a connection to, and with, their Creator. Therefore, the perceived Covid-19 disaster has some benefits, such as finding spiritual connection and the missing chord of higher purpose values and calling.



* Matthias M Ngwangwama (PhD) is a Namibian business management academic and practitioner. He is the managing director of Namibia Wildlife Resorts Limited (NWR) but writes in his personal capacity. The views expressed in this article are his own abstractions. 

2021-10-18  Staff Reporter

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