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Sci-Fi, Hip-Hop and Other South African Fantasies

The pandemonium of COVID-19 was not predicted by political analysts or economists, but by world-builders.

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.

Years before the Covid-19 pandemic, Mohale Mashigo imagined a South African outbreak that turned people into phantoms in her short story Ghost Strain N: "By the time national newspapers, radio stations and TV stations were covering the 'outbreak' it was too late for many. It happened so fast; in less than two weeks whole neighbourhoods were emptied."

Urban fantasy author Lauren Beukes' new book Afterworld, written prior to the pandemic, imagines a killer affliction that wipes out 99 percent of men. These novels were more than prescient. They were warnings.

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