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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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