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Surviving The Lockdown In Soweto

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As South Africa grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic and faces its eleventh day of the three-week lockdown, big businesses and retail establishments remain shut as people work from home.

But in South Africa’s dense townships, where people live in close proximity to each other, self-isolation is an everyday challenge. 

In the urban township of Soweto, there are no confirmed reports of positive Covid-19 cases among residents, so the throngs on the streets and queues outside grocery stores have not all disappeared.

In this image, Mfaniseni Qwabe, a senior citizen who operates a small business selling sweets and snacks, sits outside his yard, to take in some fresh air, wearing a mask.

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[PHOTO OF THE DAY] Shut Shops And Open Roads

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Image by Motlabana Monnakgotla

Until March 27, when South Africa initiated its first phase of the nationwide lockdown, Mphepheto Street in the suburb of Dobsonville in Soweto, had been bustling with informal traders, street vendors, illegal gamblers, taxis and fast cars. With vehicular traffic now restricted only to those with special permits to operate essential services, the entire stretch has turned into a ghost town. Although some residents continue to abide by the regulations, a handful continue to ply their small businesses under the radar to sustain their families.

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Photo Of The Day

[PHOTO OF THE DAY] South Africa: 8 Hours To Lockdown

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IMAGE by Motlabana Monnakgotla

South Africa’s 21-day lockdown period starts from midnight. On the African continent, the country has surpassed Egypt with the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases, with all nine provinces of the country hit.  

With only a few hours to total shutdown, street vendor, Teboho Tsimo, cashes in by selling facemasks, gloves and sanitizers in the Crown Mines area of Johannesburg. Like other small traders, Tsimo’s business will be severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The lockdown was announced on March 23 by the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa who said a relief fund will be made available for small businesses. But addressing the media the following day, Minister of Small Business Development, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, said any misuse by entrepreneurs will be penalized by a 10% interest rate payment.

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Current Affairs

[PHOTO OF THE DAY] South Africa: 33 Hours To Lockdown

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IMAGE by Motlabana Monnakgotla

South Africa’s 21-day lockdown period starts from March 26 until April 16. On the African continent, the country has surpassed Egypt with the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases – 709 as of today, and steadily climbing, with all nine provinces of the country hit. In his address to the nation on Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa pleaded with the public to avoid panic shopping that would disrupt the food supply chain. But in anticipation of the national shutdown, South Africans pay no heed as they queue up at retail stores. In this picture, shoppers line up with trolleys outside a major store in Johannesburg, also risking the spread of the coronavirus.

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