The power is in our hands – we must do better
SAB’s Corporate Brand Director Sphe Vundla is encouraging South Africans to be more responsible in embracing the new social norms that the pandemic has brought, vigilant in how they socially engage, and prioritise vaccination as the country’s third wave numbers continue to rise.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only wreaked havoc in South Africa, but has robbed many families of loved ones, creating trauma that will take a long time to recover, if ever. We cannot underestimate the toll that this pandemic has taken on our mental health as we process so much loss, uncertainty and change.
As the numbers in key metropolitans such as Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban in South Africa continue to unabatedly increase despite government’s stringent regulations, it is abundantly clear that this calls for both concern and practical action. These numbers are disturbing and public gatherings have been named as one of the key factors.
As a proudly South African beer company that supports over a million livelihoods in the value chain of beer, including those of farmers, retailers and customers, we have intentionally used our platforms as a corporate and partnered with some of our most influential brands to communicate the necessity of South Africans to continually and intentionally comply with the Covid-19 protocols and get vaccinated.
Even in the midst of widely experienced ‘Covid fatigue’, the only way we will be able to shift the needle and fight back in this pandemic will be to take personal responsibility and recognize our agency to reduce the infection rate. The simple and practical actions that have been prescribed in detail by government and the World Health Organisation have been scientifically proven to reduce infections. If implemented by consumers, retailers and society at large, they will go a long way ensure the necessary expedition of our economic recovery.
We are all acutely aware that this pandemic has forced us to embrace new norms of sociability for our safety, and while compliance can be challenging from a human and relational perspective, we can neither underestimate nor ignore the negative impact of the irresponsibility shown in public gatherings that has been documented in the news and social media.
The new normal has begun, and it is important to remember that vaccination is not immunity. We will all have to adapt and normalize the Covid-19 protocols and their ramifications on our social lives.
Having been fully vaccinated, I have truly come to understand the reality that jabs equal jobs. The more people that we can get vaccinated, the quicker we will arrive at herd immunity, and empower more South Africans to actively contribute to our economic recovery. I am excited that government has opened up to those who are 18 years and older for vaccination as of Friday, the 20th of August.
SAB is committed to not only ensuring that the livelihoods of those in our value chain are protected but, through our partnerships with government and our stakeholders, lending our voice and resources to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic to the end that the lives and jobs of South Africans do not get placed under further strain.
It is with this in mind that we encourage South Africans to enjoy our products responsibly and engage socially with great vigilance. Here are five ways that we can all embrace new social norms and work together so that we can begin to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
- Socially distance at all times
It is important that we observe the 1.5m rule of social distancing especially when in public places. Hugging and shaking hands which were normal before this pandemic are dangerous to us now and it’s important that we don’t pressurize people to engage in this way.
- Destigmatize the wearing of masks
We hear stories of people often feeling stigmatized when wearing masks in the presence of close friends and relatives. We need to socially engage with those closest to us in a psychologically safe and responsible manner.
- Wash your hands sanitize
Ensure that you sanitize as you enter an establishment and when you are inside. It’s advisable to keep a pocket sanitizer with you to make sanitization easier and give you greater peace of mind, and of course, it’s equally as important to wash your hands.
- Sharing the same bottle or glass in social occasions is not advised
While we can share amazing moments of friendship around our beer, it’s important to put safety and responsibility first in order to protect yourself and your loved ones.
- Prioritise Vaccination
As a responsible corporate citizen we are currently expanding our vaccination programme at our sites across the country, and we are encouraging all South Africans to get vaccinated and assist those who may not have access to get registered and vaccinated.