In Pictures | Back to school, back to reality

New Frame photojournalists document the reopening of schools, muted solidarity with Black Lives Matter in the US, the cautious return of sport and the ongoing struggles of South Africa’s most vulnerable.

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: A jockey is interviewed for television at the Greyville Racecourse in Durban. (Photograph 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)
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)
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)
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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