South Africa’s Covid Storm

Registered nurse Tshegofatso Selona Registered nurse Tshegofatso Selona

At the Alexandra Community Health Clinic, registered nurse Tshegofatso Selona (Tshego for short) works to identify and test people in the community for Covid-19.

In Johannesburg, Alexandra is one of the densest townships in South Africa and social distancing is impossible for most people. It was once home to Nelson Mandela and is located next to some of Africa's richest neighbourhoods like Sandton, symbolising the notorious inequalities South Africa. Tshego lives the tough life that many live in Alexandra, sharing a small one room house with her husband who is a driving instructor and her two kids, aged 10yrs and 16yrs.

Although Tshego and her team wear PPE, she contracted COVID-19. It took two weeks for her to results to come through – during which time Tshego carried on working. Despite the risks Tshego protected the people she visited by keeping her PPE and social distancing strict and using her iPhone she documented the spread of Covid-19 in her community.

Tshego filmed through one of the harshest lockdowns in South Africa. Mandatory masks in public, no going out and ban on alcohol and cigarette sales were often enforced by the military. There were many allegations of heavy handedness in Alexandra where one man was allegedly killed by the army.

A number of high-level corruption scandals made local and international headlines, with allegations that PPE tenders were given out to friends of politicians at inflated procurement prices.

At first most of coronavirus cases occurred in the Eastern Cape province, but gradually the pandemic shifted to Gauteng province and the financial capital, Johannesburg.

Tshego sent both of her children away to stay with her mother-in-law in rural Limpopo province, to get away from the virus. We capture the moment she's reunited with her family after 5 months.

South Africa is no stranger to a public health crisis. It has one of the highest rates of HIV in the world and TB is one of biggest killers in the country. Although still huge problems, both these diseases have been increasingly brought under control by the country's community health outreach programs.

Watch the film here :

Source: BBC Africa Eye