‘I never had to beg for food before’: in the queues of ...


‘I never had to beg for food before’: in the queues of desperation

About 50,000 workers in Joburg join millions who live off food parcels, but it’s not just the poor who are queuing


Before lockdown, 72-year-old Sisani Ncancema would rise early to forage dustbins in Soweto for recyclable plastics.

But now her R40-a-week earnings as a waste picker — to supplement her R1,860 old-age grant — are on hold as she waits for the spread of the Covid-19 virus to be contained.

Usually, once she collected her bag of plastics and glass, she’d return to her shack in the Elias Motsoaledi squatter camp to prepare breakfast for her 21-year-old grandson. She is his only surviving family member, and like most members of the community, he is battling to find work. She also takes care of her two beloved cats...

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