Words: Liam Tomlin Images: Claire Cunn
As I watched the horrific scenes unfold of jets flying into New York’s Twin Towers on 9/11, little did I realise that it marked the beginning of a life- changing period for me, my business and the way we live our lives today. Almost simultaneously, the unexpected collapse of my business forced me into a self-imposed lockdown for 12 months, after which, I emerged stronger, more focused and inspired. It also presented an opportunity for my wife Jan and I to move from Australia to South Africa.
That same feeling of dread came over me late in 2019 as reports of an unknown, highly contagious virus in Wuhan, China unfolded. Even then, not for a minute did I comprehend that within months it would spread its deadly tentacles across the globe with devastating effect, and eventually find its way to South Africa. Again, the catastrophic impact it was about to have on me, my expanding business, my partners and hundreds of staff was incomprehensible.
When lockdown came at the end of March, the alarming repercussions to our economy caused immediate unemployment, poverty, hunger and a drastic change to the daily life we had taken for granted for so long. The difference this time, was that I was not alone; 7.8 billion people throughout the world were experiencing the same anguish and apprehension for the future.