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Collage by Ta'Ron Joyner

COVID 19: To Recover, We Must Rebuild Our Fractured Society

'The coronavirus crashed head-on with our crisis of toxic loneliness. We need a systemic solution,' writes Zama Ndlovu.

This essay is part of OkayAfrica's SA Reframed series, featuring personal writing from some of South Africa's best young writers edited by Verashni Pillay.

About five weeks into lockdown, I found myself feeling socially dislocated and emotionally distressed. I did not understand the source of my discomfort. After all, I have lived alone for most of my post-graduate years, so physical distancing was not a significant change. I have mostly lived in solitude; I have sometimes lived in loneliness. Sometimes, the dark clouds gather, leaving me feeling as though life is contracting around me. In those times, I am empty and wholly disempowered as though I have lost my life, though I have not died.

Knowing the devastating costs of isolation intimately, I set about implementing a supportive structure of weekly video call check-ins with friends and family to make sure that I could feel connected during the lockdown period. Having taken so much care, I could not understand the incessant feeling of dislocation.

Every human being needs strong social bonds to thrive. We need to know that we belong somewhere and that we have supportive relationships to lean on when we face challenges. These social bonds help us to be more resilient and adaptable during times of hardship.

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Collage by Ta'Ron Joyner.

COVID-19 in SA: A Rich Person’s Hell is a Poor Person’s Norm

Inequality is easy to ignore if it doesn't affect you. COVID-19, not so much.

This essay is the first in OkayAfrica's SA Reframed series, featuring personal writing from some of South Africa's best young writers edited by Verashni Pillay.

As a South African TV political satirist, the most common question I get asked during COVID-19 is: 'People are dying, how can you still tell jokes?' The reply to this is of course: "This is South Africa. People have been dying the entire time."

Yet, for many middle-class white South Africans, this is the first time they have been truly inconvenienced and even, gasp, had their freedoms limited! The reaction has been comical.

Inequality is easy to ignore if it doesn't affect you. COVID-19 however, affects poor and rich and has exposed the fragility of white comfort in South Africa. You can't catch poverty because you didn't wash your hands. You can, however, catch COVID-19.

So how did we get here?

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Aspiration is a Beautiful, Expensively-Packaged Scam

'Just because aspiration is given a Black face, that doesn't mean it's for us, cares about us or has our best interests at heart,' writes Pearl Boshomane Tsotetsi.

Hermanus's Acclaimed 'Moffie' is Probably Not for Black Queers

For all its accomplishments, the success of 'Moffie' lies in creating a cinematic experience for which Black people are probably not the target market.

Why I'm Okay With Losing at the Woke Olympics

'We need to think about the ways in which the 'practice' of a Woke Olympics affords us public praise, but does little to engineer a meaningful everyday politics, IRL as well as URL.'

A Wild Goose Chase Named Orgasm

'I had always assumed that my sexual abuse trauma was to blame for my lost orgasms', writes Christy Chilimigras. 'But is it just the trauma?'

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I Would Rather Breathe Than Think Outside the Box

South African artists were already working for little to no pay, but the pandemic has unleashed a flood of exploitative work requests right when we need money the most.