In the last few months we have seen the deaths of ordinary people who helped define our heritage by becoming extraordinary: Andrew Mlangeni, Achmat Dangor and George Bizos. These were people whose lives contained South Africa’s raging currents, epitomised its human beauty and witnessed its cruelty and brutality.
Tomorrow, the results of the National Income Dynamics Survey: Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM) study will be released. They will show that the social harm caused by the lockdown and the Covid-19 health emergency is far deeper and more damaging than previous estimates. But, paradoxically, Covid-19 presents us with an opportunity to make reparations for South Africa’s racially divided past, to rebuild trust, and to create safe neighbourhoods that erect an invisible barrier of community and solidarity against Covid-19 and the poverty it is unleashing.