Seventy years, 12 tombstone-sized volumes, 15 490 pages and 414 825 words: this is what it took to complete the Oxford English Dictionary in the 1920s (Winchester, S. 2003. “The Meaning of Everything”). Not forgetting its colourful mix of editors, some of whom did not even live to see the project through to completion. But what a lexicological treasure this dictionary has become – in many of our homes and businesses.
Funny how anything worthwhile often demands a tremendous amount of focus, effort and patience. And we know that getting to the other side of this pandemic intact – whether economically, socially, physically or psychologically – will be no different (though 70 years would be a stretch).
Just when you think you’ve said all that could be said and read all that could be read about the ramifications of COVID-19, the gravity of its destruction just elicits more and more. Its exacerbating challenges were also a topic of discussion at the recent COP26, as the 2030 climate action deadline approaches.
Mens kan nie help om te wonder hoe iemand wat bv. sedert einde 2019 in ‘n tydkapsule was en nou eers daaruit is, die “nuwe normaal” sou beleef nie. Dit voel nog steeds so onwerklik – soos ‘n nare droom of ‘n ontstellende fliek. Maar die feit van die saak is, ons ís nou hier. En hemel, kan ons onsself net behoorlik applous gee? Daar is bitter min generasies wat sal kan sê hulle het enigiets naastenby so troumaties soos COVID-19 ervaar, oorleef en nog aangehou het om aan te hou.
But despite what often feels like mayhem around us, from an industry perspective, the proverbial show must go on. We must continue to produce and market our world-class fruit, maintain current markets and access new ones. And in the vein of World Soil Day on 5 December, one way of doing so is by knowing and nurturing our soil (see from page 83). In this edition we also shine the spotlight on building future-fit organisational cultures, and draw attention to on-going port challenges that hang over the industry like the sword of Damocles. Leaving them unattended or not treated with the requisite urgency, will have devastating widespread consequences.
There are no short cuts on this journey. Whether the desired outcome is reduced carbon emissions, progressive politics, a flourishing economy or increased market access (in the case of our industry), we must stay the course and “do the time”. Lastly, for those who are taking a well-deserved break over this time, happy holidays and stay safe!