July 4, 2020
COVID-19 updates: ethnographic voices from South Africa

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From the article: "Like others globally, we are observing sudden and severely impactful changes to the world around us. South Africans found themselves thrust into rigorous, unprecedented social changes within a week of the first reported cases of COVID-19 in the country. Social distancing turned into a fully implemented lockdown on 26 March, and is set to end on the 16 April. Known for its inequality, poor infrastructure and service delivery, a shortage of water in much of the country, and high HIV/AIDS and TB rates, South Africa provides a unique picture of this reshaping, reflected by the rapid, robust mobilisation of resources and governance to hold the spread of the virus in a time of uncertainty, fear and anxiety. In this contribution, we present eight different experiences of COVID-19. We have done this, individually and collaboratively, through our keyboards and internet, while self-isolating, keeping our distance but trying to remain in touch with our surroundings and each other. Below, we reflect on a rapidly changing South Africa. We explore lockdown and physical spaces, emotional wellbeing and the international student experience; vulnerability, blackness and national security in times of emergency; the momentary suspension of rules and the absurdities that arise in a medical setting; silence and social media; humour, rumour and conspiracy theories; and the rationalization of state violence under a state of normalcy and exception. Each entry indicates date of the entry and name of the author, and the number of cases for South Africa and globally."