- Gratitude parades surprised healthcare workers as they arrived for their crack-of-dawn shifts.
- Two small but vocal crowds of people praised their "heroes" for their tenacity and courage during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The gestures "mean the world" to staff.
The popular Queen song was belted out in the cold pre-dawn air. But instead of "we", the crowd sang: "You are the champions!" as emotional nurses, doctors and healthcare workers arrived for another long shift on the Covid-19 front line.
This was the scene in Somerset West this week as two small, but vocal, crowds gave hospital staff a surprise welcome as they arrived to begin their long shifts.
The groups waited in the six-degree cold at the entrances to Helderberg Hospital and Vergelegen Mediclinic.
They were armed with boards, banners and their full, collective voice – all with the same message: "Thank You!"
In response, the message from a senior hospital staffer, at yet another similar shoutout, was circulated, carrying the words: "I saw them outside the hospital when I was leaving [the night shift]. I was so touched … I shed a tear, they brought me so much joy … they really showed us love, especially leaving their warm houses in this cold winter just to appreciate us. May God bless them, they really touched us positively."
One of the organisers of one of the gratitude parades was Rebecca Japhet, who is only 19.
She told News24: "While we are at home baking bread and watching series I was so aware of how tirelessly the healthcare workers in our community are working. We wanted to show how much we appreciate and admire their work and their bravery in this time in whatever way possible."
A staff member at one hospital told News24: "These may seem like very small gestures. But they mean the world to the healthcare workers."
Another doctor commented on Facebook: "Lovely...! Gives even jaded old me a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye ..."