4 May 2020
AN OPEN LETTER TO MR CYRIL RAMAPHOSA
Dear Mr Ramaphosa
Your ears must be ringing by now with everybody shouting either advice, criticism or insults into them. This isn't a rant, and it isn't advice. I appreciate most sincerely your efforts to keep this country going, and I trust you to guide us well. But I would like to put in a humble request: Please let people work who can do their jobs while maintaining social distancing.
Take my job, for instance. I am a professional photographer. Believe it or not, even in the midst of a pandemic, ordinary people still experience extraordinary things. Life goes on, and events happen. People still get engaged, they still get married, they turn 16 or 21 or 80 or 100, they give birth, they graduate, they retire, they start chemotherapy, or they are told that they have beaten cancer. Some of them are told that they haven't, some of them count hours rather than days.
Most people have the need to capture these extraordinary moments in order to share them with loved ones from whom they have been separated. Some people simply need something good and grand and hopeful to hang on to in these dark days. For some, these photographs will be all they have to show of a momentous, life-changing event. Let me do that for them. Let me bring them light.
Taking photographs requires me to keep a distance from my subjects. I do it alone. I won't threaten anyone's health, and they won't threaten mine. I am able to work without disrupting any of your safety measures, but I need your permission to do it.
I can make a living, Mr President, but then you need to let me do my job. I can pay my own way, take care of my son, support local businesses, support my fellow South Africans in need. But then you need to let me work. Let me be a part of the solution. Let me be a collaborator in the resurrection of our country.
This is my home too. Let me help you to keep it standing. Let all of us help you. Please.