End Of Year Statement: An Unprecedented Year
Siphosami Malunga, Executive Director
And so it ends, a year that will forever be memorable as one filled with disruption, anxiety, pain, loss and also, hope. It is the kind of hope that we saw manifest in our grantees, partners and like-minded institutions and organisations we work with and the people we serve. So, in the midst of all the uncertainty and anguish, we all had to find ways of coping, ways of working and more generally, ways of living. It has not been easy.
We have all been asked to do more, to go the extra mile – in our work lives, personal lives and in relation to others. Compassion, Empathy and Gratitude have been asked of each and everyone of us, and we have in different ways gone to great lengths to show that we care, not only for one another but for the world we live in too.
Yet, there are others who took advantage of the disruptions to further entrench authoritarianism, advance corrupt practices, limit the rights of others and oppose the principles of open society. Across southern Africa, we witnessed the excesses of armies, the police, public officials and corporate greed. Hence, in the midst of pandemic, a so-called great revealer, the clear and present danger to what we hold dear – Freedom, Justice and Accountability – was exposed.
Whilst the full cost of the disruptions caused by COVID-19 is yet to be counted, we can, at the very least foretell what it will look like for our region: growing inequality, massive unemployment, lack of social services, youth unrest, democratic deficits, disrespect for the rule of law and the fight over Truth (misinformation and propaganda). The pandemic has shown us that through collective action, we can fight harm together and equally build back better together.
For 2021, that is the pledge we make. We are committed and we are ready to do even more.
Stay safe and happy holidays.
Endnote: Farewell to our friend, comrade and president of the Open Society Foundations, Patrick Gaspard; we salute you for the work you did around the world, Africa in particular, and wish you the very best for the future.