To get the year off to a good start I treated myself to a lung-stretching walk round the outer circular route on Zomba Mountain, enjoying spectacular views of nearby Malosa Mountain and across the plain to the Mulanje Massif. The panorama was evocative at a time when we survey the year that has gone and look into the one that lies ahead.
When we look back, years can blur into each other and it is not always easy to remember what happened in a particular year. But I suspect we will all remember what happened in 2020. Yet to be revealed is how we will remember the coronavirus pandemic.
Was it just a random event, another in a series of epidemics that have disturbed human life throughout history? Will we look back just relieved that we got through it and life returned to normal? Or will it be remembered as a re-set moment – a virus that revealed deep flaws in our world order and left us determined to “build back better?”
The prospect of a Biden Presidency in the USA is at least a start, giving us hope that we will see the better side of America once again. Sadly, the UK seems to be still mired in its own form of Trumpism but perhaps May’s Scottish Parliamentary election will be an opportunity to set out a more promising agenda. Here in Malawi the new Government is serious and aspirational but there is still a lot to play for as the country’s many challenges are compounded by the covid effect.
Sometimes politics can seem quite distant from our everyday lives, but the pandemic has brought the personal and the political very close to one another. Perhaps it is an opportunity to renew and reform both ourselves and our politics?