As days have turned into weeks and nights have grown colder with the approach of winter, the extension of the government’s Covid-19 lockdown has left many South Africans in ever more precarious situations.
Impoverished communities face a bleak future as food security becomes in need of an urgent response from the government, queues snake down the road at clinics and citizens struggle to access unemployment benefits.
7 April 2020: A man cuts another’s hair in the small yard of an apartment block in Illovo, Johannesburg. The men live in the apartment block’s staff accommodation, or “servants’ quarters” as they were formerly known. The rooms are usually tiny and residents must share toilets, taps and kitchen areas. Although the conditions are generally poor, this accommodation is in high demand because residents spend far less on transport costs and it is often safer than living in a shack settlement or occupied building. (Photograph by James Oatway)
12 April 2020: A police officer at a roadblock in Alexandra township in Johannesburg. (Photograph by James Oatway) 14 April 2020: Tshwane Metro Police load illicit cigarettes into a police van during a raid at a house in Lyttleton, Pretoria. The illicit trade in cigarettes and alcohol has flourished since the sale of these items was banned at the beginning of the national lockdown. Photograph: James Puttick. Left: 12 April 2020: A police officer at a roadblock in Alexandra township in Johannesburg. (Photograph by James Oatway) Right: 14 April 2020: Tshwane metro police officers load cigarettes into a police van during a raid at a house in Lyttelton, Pretoria. The illicit trade in cigarettes and alcohol has flourished since their sale was banned at the beginning of the lockdown. (Photograph by James Puttick)
14 April 2020: A blanket is thrown over 27-year-old Peter Nkosi before he is put into an ambulance at a homeless shelter at the Lyttleton Sports Park in Pretoria. He was shot in the back with a rubber bullet the previous day when police opened fire after tensions flared in the camp because of meagre food portions. Many of the people in the shelter have begun methadone treatment for heroin addiction and complain of increased hunger as their appetites return during the recovery process. Factors such as this, combined with the sudden loss of freedom of those within the camp, mean that tensions boil over easily within its confines. (Photograph by James Puttick)
13 April 2020: A deserted Regina Mundi church in Soweto on Easter Monday. Usually, churches are busy and full on this day, but gatherings, including religious, are banned during the lockdown. (Photograph by Oupa Nkosi)
14 April 2020: People who have lost their jobs as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown were left disappointed when they learned that the Department of Home Affairs in Orlando West, Soweto, wouldn’t be operational until Friday 17 April. They were not informed of the closure and some had started queuing as early as 5am to apply for Unemployed Insurance Fund relief. (Photograph by Oupa Nkosi)
14 April 2020: Patients practise social distancing as they line up in the morning, waiting their turn outside the Mofolo Clinic in Soweto. (Photograph by Oupa Nkosi) 14 April 2020: A long line of people waiting to be seen at the Mofolo Clinic in Soweto. (Photograph by Oupa Nkosi) Left and right: 14 April 2020: Patients practise social distancing as they line up in the morning, waiting their turn outside the Mofolo Clinic in Soweto. (Photographs by Oupa Nkosi)
9 April 2020: Residents of the Bekezela shack settlement in Newtown, Johannesburg, collect a food donation delivered by non-governmental organisation Meals on Wheels. Most of the 400 or so residents work as waste pickers and lost their ability to earn an income when recycling operations shut down for the duration of the Covid-19 lockdown. Reclaimers contribute to the city’s environmental sustainability and economy, but have yet to receive support from the City of Johannesburg and are reliant on food donations during the lockdown. (Photograph by James Puttick)
9 April 2020: From left, waste pickers Serge Chibi, Tumi Mabalane, Thando Sibiya, Thuto Tseke and Jabu Shakoane in their shelter at the Bekezela shack settlement in Newtown, Johannesburg. (Photograph by James Puttick)
16 April 2020: Enos Mafokate, the first professional black show jumper in Africa, runs the Soweto Equestrian Centre in Rockville, teaching kids to ride horses. He had to obtain a special permit to allow him to come to the centre daily to check on the horses and feed them. He had to cancel all his classes. (Photograph by Oupa Nkosi)
If you want to republish this article please read our