Spreading cheer at a time of darkness and fear

Medical staff from Gamtoos in their colourful homemade scrubs.
Medical staff from Gamtoos in their colourful homemade scrubs.
Image: Supplied

South Africans have an incredible ability to turn dark into light, to see the bright side of everything, and, often, do so at a time when we need it most.

Take, for instance, a group of medical practitioners in the Gamtoos Valley tackling Covid-19 in a somewhat unexpected manner — by performing a choreographed coronavirus war dance.

We have seen these stories of hope and acts of goodness since the start of the lockdown and, we would like to think, it has played a part in keeping us hopeful over the past eight weeks — the musicians hosting rooftop “concerts” for their neighbours, the creatives turning a serious speech into something to laugh about and now, these doctors and nurses from the Hankey and Patensie area.

Here, at the Community Med, staff have set up an isolation facility that can accommodate up to 26 patients in response to community members’ inability to self-isolate should they test positive.

But this is no ordinary hospital ward.

Taking a leaf out of American “clown doctor” Dr Patch Adams’s book, staff have turned to entertainment to spread cheer.

Kitted in brightly coloured homemade scrubs and face masks, they performed a specially choreographed routine that has since been shared on several social networking services.

“I think it actually creates a cheerful mood, and also lifts the patients’ spirits,” Patensie doctor Adi-Mari Schoeman said.

And there is a lesson in this simple act for each and every one of us — that we all can make a difference to somebody else at time when it seems we will never recover from the effect of Covid-19 on humanity and you don’t need to be a doctor to make that difference.

Adams said it best: “The purpose of a doctor or any human in general should not be to simply delay the death of the patient, but to increase the person’s quality of life.”

It should be something we apply not just to patients, but all those who cross our paths as we navigate our way through Covid-19.