In Pictures | Patience, hunger and faith

The initial Covid-19 lockdown has tentatively eased in South Africa. New Frame photojournalists document the empty streets and desperation that defined this difficult period.

The lockdown that was meant to last 21 days ended up lasting 35. South Africa has so far fared better than many other countries, even those with more developed healthcare systems. 

But the burden of carrying this sacrifice has been disproportionately placed on our citizens who are most at risk: the homeless and those already afflicted with poverty before Covid-19 came to our shores. 

In the absence of traditional heroes, it has fallen on ordinary South Africans to stay patient, help one another and keep going, with faith and hope for the future.

18 April 2020: Members of the police check shopping bags and question people in the streets of Yeoville, Johannesburg. The police did a walkabout in the area accompanied by the army, making sure people were keeping to lockdown regulations. (Photograph by Madelene Cronjé)
18 April 2020: Social distancing in the Joburg suburb of Yeoville. (Photograph by Madelene Cronjé)
18 April 2020: The Yeoville market in Johannesburg is open but much quieter than usual, with many stalls closed. (Photograph by Madelene Cronjé)
15 April 2020: The police raid a small store in Joburg’s city centre that was allegedly trading in contravention of lockdown regulations. The officers arrested several men. (Photograph by James Oatway)
18 April 2020: Members of the police and army check in on homeless people in Yeoville, Joburg. Contrary to some reports, they were friendly and helpful. (Photograph by Madelene Cronjé)
26 April 2020: South African National Defence Force soldiers support the police during an operation to enforce the Covid-19 lockdown in Yeoville, Johannesburg. (Photograph by James Oatway)
21 April 2020: Victor Ndlovu at the Lyttelton Homeless Shelter in Pretoria. He is 27 and almost blind, able to distinguish only between dark and light. He made a living hustling on the streets of Pretoria prior to the Covid-19 lockdown. He is popular and well loved by the other homeless men at the shelter, but wants to return to his mother Josephine in Mahikeng, where he grew up, when the lockdown ends. (Photograph by James Puttick)
21 April 2020: Donald Nyalungu, 34, has stopped using nyaope since attending the methadone clinic at the Lyttelton Homeless Shelter in Pretoria. He made a living washing cars and as a car guard in Pretoria before being moved to the shelter when the Covid-19 lockdown started. He is happy to be free of the heroin-based drug after three weeks on methadone, but says ‘you never know what will happen when we go back to the streets after the lockdown’. (Photograph by James Puttick)
29 April 2020: A man passes the Rose Corner Superette in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town. The streets are usually full of life during Ramadan but this year, they are empty. (Photograph by Barry Christianson)
22 April 2020: Dillon Lakay delivers a food parcel to a home in Hangberg in Hout Bay, Cape Town. (Photograph by Barry Christianson)
27 April 2020: The Harvest Time Church in Protea Glen, Soweto, is deserted on Freedom Day during the government’s lockdown to slow the rate of coronavirus infections in South Africa. (Photograph by Oupa Nkosi)
8 April 2020: A security guard on duty at deserted North Beach in Durban watches cargo ships on the horizon. (Photograph by Mlungisi Mbele)
23 April 2020: A Muslim cleric on the promenade in Three Anchor Bay, Cape Town, undertaking the annual tradition of sighting the moon. Clerics are accompanied by throngs of people, except for when the weather is particularly bad. But people stayed away this year because of the lockdown. (Photograph by Barry Christianson)
23 April 2020: Muslim clerics on the promenade in Three Anchor Bay, Cape Town, for the sighting of the the moon. (Photograph by Barry Christianson)
29 April 2020: Volunteers at the Bo-Kaap Community Centre in Cape Town wind down as their day comes to an end. (Photograph by Barry Christianson)
24 April 2020: President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Johannesburg Expo Centre, which the government has identified as a potential medical quarantine facility for Covid-19 patients. The venue will be able to accommodate large numbers of people should infections rise rapidly in the city. (Photograph by Oupa Nkosi)
26 April 2020: Two Emergency Assistance Volunteer Support personnel take a breather between delivering food parcels in Ocean View, Cape Town. (Photograph by Barry Christianson)
11 April 2020: Food parcels donated by local businesses and families who wish, to a large extent, to remain anonymous. The response from the community has been immediate and extremely generous, according to the Bo-Kaap Covid-19 Response Team spokesperson, although in times to come, as the resources of the recently unemployed are reduced, the amount of assistance would have to increase dramatically. (Photograph by Yasser Booley)
29 April 2020: Hassane Habib Allah waits patiently to see an official at the Gauteng Department of Social Development in Johannesburg to apply for a permit to distribute food aid to those in need. He and a friend were arrested by the police the day before and fined R1 000 each for distributing food to the needy in Brixton. They were told that the essential service permit they had in their possession was not valid. Being a law-abiding citizen, he paid the fine and now wants to apply for an updated permit so he can continue distributing food. (Photograph by James Puttick)
29 April 2020: Lucia Khumalo sews a mask out of traditional cloth. She started making the masks to supply her community at the Bekezela shack settlement in Newtown, Johannesburg. (Photograph by James Puttick)
21 April 2020: People gather in the Imizamo Yethu shack settlement in Cape Town as they wait to collect their food parcels. (Photograph by Barry Christianson)
28 April 2020: Members of the Mutungwa Service Delivery Task Team sign a list of demands to be delivered to the Department of Social Development. Made up of a coalition of community leaders from various shack settlements, community organisations and dark buildings – those with no electricity or water, named for the isiZulu ‘emnyama indawo’ or dark place – in Joburg’s inner city, they want the government to start distributing food parcels as they are beginning to starve. They warned that if they continue to be ignored, they will be forced to mobilise and march to the Gauteng Legislature in protest. (Photograph by James Puttick)
11 April 2020: Cassiem Lucas, a longtime resident of Bo-Kaap and a volunteer for the Bo-Kaap Covid-19 Response Team, in a street that under normal circumstances would be crowded with camera-toting tourists. The response team started when it became evident that visitors from European countries heavily affected by the coronavirus were still visiting Bo-Kaap. Their first response was to galvanise organisations in the area to issue a unanimous ban on international visitors, to limit the largely elderly and vulnerable residents’ exposure to Covid-19. (Photograph by Yasser Booley)
11 April 2020: Anees Diedericks, who lives in Bo-Kaap and volunteers for the response team, delivers food parcels in the area. (Photograph by Yasser Booley)
29 April 2020: Mbalenhle ‘Flower’ Tshabalala outside the homeless shelter at the Hillbrow Recreation Centre in Johannesburg. The shelter is for men, so the 20-year-old sleeps outside on the street. But she is able to get a meal there during the day. Tshabalala came to Johannesburg two years ago from Piet Retief in Mpumalanga after she matriculated. She lost both her parents shortly after finishing school and was lured to Johannesburg by an aquaintance under the false pretence of work, which turned out to be prostitution in the Hillbrow criminal underworld. She refused and ended up on the streets, addicted to nyaope and crack cocaine. ‘If I could escape this, I would like to follow my dream of studying further … I did well at school,’ she says in her eloquent English. (Photograph by James Puttick)
22 April 2020: Dillon Lakay, a Hout Bay United football club player, waits to unload food parcels in Hangberg. (Photograph by Barry Christianson)
29 April 2020: A shopper walks past a poster in Sea Point advertising season five of the Lockdown television series. (Photograph by Barry Christianson)
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