What we learnt from recording acts of kindness as Covid-19 unfolded in SA
Noting people’s selflessness from the start of lockdown has resulted in a book about how many held each other up
In the face of SA’s stark inequalities (https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2020/01/29/na012820six-charts-on-south-africas-persistent-and-multi-faceted-inequality) it was clear many people were likely to fall into even more desperate circumstances once the reality of Covid-19 restrictions set in. Many immediately lost jobs (https://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/161431626102808095/pdf/Building-Back-Better-from-COVID-19-with-a-Special-Focus-on-Jobs.pdf#page=12) or saw their businesses collapse (https://businesstech.co.za/news/business/397963/the-numbers-that-tell-the-real-story-about-how-business-is-collapsing-in-south-africa/), and a host of other restrictions led to unprecedented changes in how we lived.
For the first time in the country’s democratic history, all were compelled to consider the realities of other people. These included the physical and the social. Who lived at home? Did they get along? What would the impact be of weeks in the same space without a break? Was there enough food? Did the roof leak?
Remarkably, the country mobilised (https://www.gautengtogether.org/). Individuals offered whatever support they could, in money, food (https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/watch-ladles-of-love-a-food-charitys-journey-from-donations-to-the-hungry-20200527) and services. In every corner of the nation communities sprang into action (https://www.goedgedacht.org/covid-19-support/) to take care of their most vulnerable citizens. In many ways South Africans were stepping up to support one another in ways rarely seen...