The Class of 2020, in South Africa and around the world, faces a challenging remainder of the academic year. Many parents, concerned for their childrens’ safety, have chosen to keep them at home while the Covid-19 pandemic persists.
Black Lives Matter protests, which have raged across America and had a considerable showing in major cities across the world, did not disrupt South Africa despite the deaths of at least 12 people during the government’s Covid-19 lockdown, including Collins Khosa.
10 June 2020: A banner in memory of Collins Khosa hangs on a fence in central Johannesburg. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, a South African National Defence Force board of inquiry cleared the soldiers responsible for his death after they had assaulted him brutally at his home during the lockdown. Outrage at his murder has been muted in comparison to the widespread protests that have broken out in the United States since the police killing of George Floyd. (Photograph by James Puttick)
Migrant communities in South Africa continue to be among the worst affected by the continued, albeit phased, lockdown. Cut off from informal economic activity and ineligible for government aid because of a lack of citizenship or visas, many are dependent on food parcels.
Economic activity and sport is slowly picking up again, but stadiums and racetracks around the world will probably remain deserted for some time.
Cape Town, the current epicentre of the coronavirus in South Africa, is weathering its traditional winter storms and cold fronts while the city’s homeless fend for themselves.
4 June 2020: About 30 people demonstrated at Zoo Lake in Johannesburg in solidarity with George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests across the globe. (Photograph by James Oatway)
1 June 2020: Domestic workers queue to be screened for the coronavirus before entering a gated residential estate in Hillcrest, Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal. (Photograph by Rogan Ward)
1 June 2020: Horse racing resumes at the Greyville Racecourse in Durban with only trainers, grooms, jockeys and race officials allowed to attend. Although South Africa moved to level three of the lockdown on 1 June, horse owners and punters have not been granted entry to the races and the stands are almost empty. South Africa’s famed Durban July has been postponed to 25 July and will be a broadcast-only event. (Photographs by Rogan Ward)
1 June 2020: A jockey is interviewed for television at the Greyville Racecourse in Durban. (Photograph by Rogan Ward)
2 June 2020: KwaZulu-Natal member of the executive council for health Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu visits the newly renovated isolation and quarantine facility at Clairwood Hospital in Durban. The hospital has prepared 154 isolation beds ahead of the forecast spike in Covid-19 infections. (Photographs by Rogan Ward)
8 June 2020: Grade 12 pupils from Thulani Secondary School in Snake Park, Soweto, on their first day back at school during the coronavirus pandemic. Before the lockdown, there were about 37 pupils in each class. Now there are only 16 per classroom. (Photograph by Oupa Nkosi)
8 June 2020: Thulani Secondary School matric pupils wait in face masks to have their temperatures taken and their hands sanitised before entering the premises. (Photographs by Oupa Nkosi)
Left: 8 June 2020: Physical distancing in the queue of grade 12 learners entering Thulani Secondary School. Before entering the premises, they have to write down details about their health that day. (Photograph by Oupa Nkosi) Right: 10 June 2020: CityKidz pupils doing physically distanced yoga at school. (Photograph by James Oatway)
10 June 2020: Pupils at the inner-city CityKidz Pre and Primary School in Johannesburg take part in a yoga session to promote mental wellness during the Covid-19 crisis. (Photograph by James Oatway)
9 June 2020: Food parcels from Gift of the Givers being delivered to migrants in Johannesburg’s inner city. Unable to access government social grants or food aid, they are reliant on non-governmental organisations for food and support during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photograph by James Puttick)
9 June 2020: A group of Zimbabwean women celebrate with song and dance in inner-city Johannesburg after receiving food aid from humanitarian group Gift of the Givers. (Photograph by James Puttick)
Right 10 June 2020:Homeless people sheltering from the rain, eat their evening meals under the Station Road bridge in Observatory.:Photographer: Barry Christianson. Left: 28 May 2020: A security guard escorts women from a food aid distribution point in Joburg’s inner city. Many of these points are now guarded as hunger and desperation increase as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown severely constraining livelihoods. (Photograph by James Puttick) Right: 10 June 2020: Homeless people take shelter from the Cape Town rain, eating their evening meal under the Station Road bridge in Observatory. (Photograph by Barry Christianson)
10 June 2020: Natalie Collins is 59 and has been living on the street in Observatory, Cape Town, for 12 years. She will be sleeping with others under the Station Road bridge during the rainy season. Collins says the City of Cape Town only cares about the rich. Her experience during the Covid-19 lockdown has been that residents are more reticent to engage with her, perhaps because they think homeless people are more likely to have the coronavirus. ‘I hope they are sleeping warm tonight,’ she says, in reference to the law enforcement officers who took down the marquees residents had erected for the homeless ahead of a cold front. (Photograph by Barry Christianson)
10 June 2020: Steven Littler is originally from eSwatini. When he moved to South Africa, he lived in Uitsig, Cape Town, for a number of years. In 2004, he was arrested for possessing an unlicensed firearm and spent 13 years in prison. He has been living on the streets since his release, at first in Goodwood, where he was constantly robbed, before making his way to Observatory, where he has been living since 2018. His experience of living in Observatory has been good. ‘I think because we’re getting help from different organisations where food is concerned, it helps a lot,’ he says. (Photograph by Barry Christianson)
10 June 2020: Colin Johnson has been living on Observatory’s streets for five years. He has more good days than bad, he says. ‘I know people here. I earn a living doing book sales. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Observatory is a good place to be if you’re destitute.’ (Photograph by Barry Christianson)
10 June 2020: Observatory residents set up two marquees on the Observatory Common on 9 June to shelter about 20 homeless people from the coming rain and cold front, but law enforcement refused to allow the tents to remain on City-owned land as erecting them there contravenes a by-law. ‘We know there’s a bylaw against tents here. However, it’s raining,’ said Observatory resident Terna Gyuse. ‘The sooner there’s an acceptable local shelter available, the sooner we will be able to take these tents down. But we are not prepared to wait passively while an eventual plan is made and implemented.’ Gyuse and the Observatory Community Action Network have asked the City to create a homeless shelter in the suburb, but the City says homeless people must go to existing shelters instead. (Photographs by Barry Christianson)
3 June 2020: The move to level three of the Covid-19 lockdown has seen the return of smog hanging over Johannesburg’s skyline, as traffic increases with the relaxing of restrictions. (Photograph by James Puttick)
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