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OUR HABITS NO LONGER SUSTAINABLE

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ADAPTATION is imperative as we evolve, as it creates equilibrium between change and our constant need to survive. As a country, and as individuals, we would be at a great disadvantage if we did not learn anything from this COVID-19 era.

We need to gauge the limitations that have visibly shown themselves during this experience and quickly make amendments going forward to create a much more sustainable country.


Visible


Now more than ever, it is clearly visible that a majority of the populace is living from hand to mouth. There is a great imbalance between the lower class, middle class and upper class. One would be forgiven for thinking the middle class doesn’t actually exist in this country and that it has merged with the lower class, therefore, creating a disparity between the world’s definition of a middle class citizen and what is considered a middle class citizen in Eswatini.

COVID-19 has revealed that those we consider middle class citizens have also been rendered unsustainable. For some this seems like a far-fetched perspective and somewhat of a hyperbole.

However, from general observation over the lockdown period, what can be considered poor planning, such as seeing people queue at supermarkets in order to buy food almost every day, is actually clear evidence of how people live from hand to mouth and cannot afford to buy in bulk. But instead, most people take daily trips to the shop to purchase food according to what is necessary to survive on that particular day.


Defying


This, therefore, has resulted in long queues and individuals blatantly defying the stipulated regulations simply because if they don’t go to town and purchase the little they can, they will unfortunately starve. The anomaly in all of this is how most people have to take multiple trips to town, weekly, all in the name of purchasing food.
What would be expected is for people to at the very least travel once a week to town, but from personal observation, it is evident that one individual can actually go to town throughout the week with the sole purpose of buying food. This is the unfortunate effect of living from hand to mouth.

 


Considering that the minimum wage in the country is lower than that of some SADC countries, there needs to be a review of this to allow for growth in the sustainability of individuals in the country. Proper money management needs to be introduced at secondary level and should be compulsory, instead of allowing children to grow into full blown adults without affording them the opportunity to learn more about the handling of finances and how to maximize one’s livelihood. This is because, at this rate, we will continue to produce individuals who are inevitably bound to incur debt.


The question then becomes, are we prepared to live like this forever or are we going to learn from this and further create comprehensive strategies to help the country’s populace become sustainable? Is government prepared to cater for the less privileged, who seem to be the majority of the population, for as long as the country stands; or are there low key devising strategies to help each citizen out of the poverty trap after all is said and done?

These are the questions that need to be addressed, because COVID-19 has highlighted a weakness that was constantly being swept under the carpet.


The education system in this country is also questionable, and could be partly blamed for the crises we have found ourselves in. Is the system ultimately equipping each pupils with skills that will in-turn avail them the opportunity of attaining sustainable employment?


When all is said and done, the focus needs to shift from the number of infected people to what the next step is. We need to be willing to be confronted by new information that conflicts with our existing beliefs, ideas and values in order to survive this new decade; we owe ourselves that much.

This is because, as evolution has taught us, if we do not adapt we die. Let us create a much more sustainable future going forward, not just for us but also for generations to come.

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