Braving the eerie streets of Joburg to replenish the stock of food and essentials is a disconcerting experience. There is little traffic, for one. But the averted gaze of the mask-clad shopper standing some distance away as we wait to be allowed into a store is what really puts me on edge. The prospect of contracting a virus has turned us into a fearful people. We are eyeing each other with suspicion. No-one is all that keen on small talk, yet after almost two weeks of lockdown, some of us crave it.

While we continue to live separate lives, we must remember what holds us together. Now more than ever, South Africans need to develop a cross-class solidarity. The Covid-19 pandemic will have devastating consequences, not just for an overburdened health system, but for an entire economy that was already on the skids before this crisis hit...

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