A Thank You Letter to Our Essential Services Workers

All our lives have been turned upside down and brought to a sudden stop by the novel that is - coronavirus. We are in a nation-wide lockdown and confined to our homes. This gives many of us an excuse to stay in bed all day while doing some work and having lots of snacks around. However, let us take a moment, amid all this chaos, to think about those people who are helping us through this crisis. Those people who do not have the luxury of sleeping late or spending time with their loved ones in the safe spaces we call home.

The farm workers who continue to work the fields and cattle so we can have food. The food packers and factory workers who continue working long hours for minimum wage to keep our supermarkets stocked. The technicians at the power stations who work day and night so that we can switch on our lights. The pharmacists, nurses, doctors and hospital administrators who are on the frontline, keeping their doors open and providing us with medical care when we need it most. The security personnel and police officers who are constantly working to ensure the safety of our people during this troubling time. The cashiers, shelf stockers and workers in the supermarket who work tirelessly to ensure access to the basic necessities. Journalists, teachers, construction workers, those caring for the elderly, our volunteers, our defence force, our government - the list goes on.

Without these workers, we will not have food, power or water. Our refuge will pile up, our education will suffer. We will not be safe. We will not be able to treat patients, which will cause more infections and ultimately raise the death toll. Without these workers, we face a dire world.

Remember that they are under stress too. These workers are just as afraid of what the future holds as we are. Be patient and be kind to everyone you see. Many of us are safe at home and we do not risk our lives, health or safety to provide essential services to the rest of South Africans. For me, this time has shown the importance of these workers and how society will most likely crumble without them. We will get through this pandemic the world is facing but, until we do, I ask you one thing: treat every essential services worker with the respect and dignity that they deserve!

They have not failed us during this difficult time, so let us take a moment to thank them for their endless hard work, bravery and selfless service to our people and our country.