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Finding creative energy in world of lockdown


LESS than three months ago the coronavirus was confined to China, but the virus became a global problem when cases were reported in Thailand, Japan, South Korea and the United States of America. Soon it spread throughout Europe and eventually made landfall in Egypt, in the north-east Africa. Slowly but surely COVID-19 made stopovers in numerous African countries. Zimbabwe wasn’t spared, and in 2020, a new year that began with so much optimism, we are now experiencing a modern day version of the Plagues of Egypt, straight from the Book of Exodus.

400 year ago, the bubonic plague swept through Europe. When it reached the small Bavarian village of Oberammergau, the villagers made a vow to God that if he would spare then from the plague, they would produce the Passion Play every 10 years, a play depicting the life and death of Jesus. They kept their promise for 400 years, but this year, owing to the coronavirus, the Passion Play has been postponed to 2022. The villagers intend to keep their vow.

COVID-19 is real and devastating. It does not spare anyone but what will save us is our hygienic behaviour and attitude.

Zimbabwe cannot rely on divine intervention to save it from COVID-19, but the 21 day lockdown that began on 30 March should go some way to containing the pandemic. Adapting to the world of lockdown isn’t easy, but suggestions abound on ways to cope with the frustrations, ensuring that one can live to fight another day.

You’re probably working from home, so establish a routine. Don’t be tempted to mooch around all day in your PJs, but dress with care and eat breakfast before sitting down at your designated work space. If you’re self-isolating with your partner, he or she can be persuaded to do the washing up, and prepare the snack you’re going to need at 11 am.

If your day revolves around preparing three meals a day with snacks in between, and all the washing up it involves, count yourself fortunate. You don’t need to hustle on a daily basis to provide a single meal for your family.

Perhaps lack of exercise and eating all those snacks is preventing you from achieving the svelte figure you had vowed to acquire in your New Year resolutions. Take a break from work at the same time every day, and do a fifteen minute workout with Joe Wicks, the Body Coach, on YouTube. There are even sessions for seniors, with easy moves like marching on the spot, and toe touches, with a 20 second rest in between.

You’ll need to look smart for Skype sessions with your boss, so lose the tee shirt, and wear a shirt and tie. He or she will only see you at your desk, from the waist up, so it’s not a problem if you’re still wearing running shorts after your workout.

Suddenly, everyone is talking about Zoom video-conferencing. People are able to attend virtual birthday parties, and the service is free, provided you talk for no longer than 40 minutes. Social distancing has created a need for virtual funerals, and technology powered by Zoom allows family and friends to attend and participate from the safety of their own homes. You can always follow up after the service with a phone call or text message on WhatsApp. Virus-hit Boris Johnson, now recovering in hospital, chaired the UK’s first electronic cabinet meeting, powered by Zoom, just over a week ago.

Budding writers may welcome enforced isolation as an opportunity to develop their poetry collection, or to conclude the novel that’s been on hold pending a satisfactory conclusion. Times of danger and uncertainty are said to stimulate creative energy, so seize the moment and be in line for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2021.

For art lovers, online tours of galleries and museums are a way to pass the time, curled up on the sofa in the comfort of your living room. Check out the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in Paris, and Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, in the Vatican Museum’s Sistine Chapel in Rome.

The Zeitz MOCAA Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is now conducting 3D tours on their website. If you didn’t make it to Cape Town for their iconic exhibition Five Bobh: Painting at the end of an Era, now is your chance to catch up with 29 exceptional Zimbabwean artists and their works.

Make the most of this time of introspection; stay at home, keep busy and stay safe.  – A Matter of Taste Charlotte Malakoff

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