TAU 3 Begins (12-16 July)
The TAU 3 session 1 successfully commenced with 52 participants across all Universities in South Africa taking part in the Online Session 1. The COVID pandemic completely enveloped the programme of TAU 3 Session 1. In the lead, up to Session 1, four of our team members contracted COVID, and one, Vanessa (Ness) Merkel, was hospitalised. She had played a convening role in the Curriculum Development of the TAU 3 programme during TAU 2020. She died on the 11th July 2021, the night before we opened Session 1. On the morning of 12 July, we started the programme with weeping hearts.
The remaining three team members with COVID – tried to remain active as much as they could however, two were dealing with their entire families, including small children, contracting the disease and were themselves very sick. Several participants reported contracting COVID, and some had family members pass away, and others hospitalised. One TAU Advisors, Liqhwa Siziba, heard on 12 July that her mom had gone into hospital in Zimbabwe. She immediately went to get tested and as soon as she could, she flew to Bulawayo on the 15 July in time to be with the family all the time continuing to fulfil her TAU advisor responsibilities online. Her Mom passed away on the 22nd July.
Several TAU team members needed to keep vaccination appointments during the week of 12-16 July. Several participants needed to move house or workplace because of the violence. Gunshots and uncertainty surrounded many. One participant needed to queue for food for one and a half days in UKZN. Despite all of this, we managed to deliver the programme as planned and with over 90% attendance by TAU participants. Advisors have followed up with any individuals in their Enquiry Groups who missed any sessions. We recorded all the plenary and content-based sessions and have made them available to people who missed them.
Particular thanks go out to all the TAU team members who stepped in at the last minute when required to and picked up whatever needed to be done. It was a fantastic team effort. One I feel very proud to have been part of.
TAU program manager