South Africa: #Lockdown - the Long Haul Has Kicked Off, and the Virus Will Determine the Timeline


The inevitable pandemic has arrived, and we're stuck inside our homes while Covid-19 sniffs us out, jonesing for a massive death-fix. No government in the modern era has ever faced a crisis this swift-moving or severe -- the situation is unprecedented in every respect. Which is exactly why South Africa requires tough leadership, leadership from above, disciplined leadership, a government speaking with a united voice. But this is the ANC we're talking about: the lockdown has only just kicked off, and it's already fraying.

On the eve of one of South Africa's most momentous events, I walked from my office through streets that were as abandoned and eerie as the afterlife. Johannesburg -- mining city, city of war -- seemed to be experiencing a sensation unique in its history.

Not fear, which is its constant. But self-doubt.

Lockdown. Four days ago, President Cyril Ramaphosa ushered us into the abnormality of the new normal. (Or is it the other way around?) He was late, but he was on form: calm, collected, and as un-Trump-like as it was possible to be. Then he imprisoned us in our homes for three weeks. It all made sense on paper, and the people cheered.


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