South Africa: Dancing On the Spot - COVID-19 in the Low-Income Economy


Lindiwe's story is the reality for most households in peri-urban areas. Being from the township myself, I worry about the consequences of our Covid-19 responses for the development of poor communities after the pandemic.

"I became sick when I heard that there was a lockdown because I don't have a permanent job."

So said Lindiwe Mthembu, a 35-year-old mother of four from Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg, when I spoke to her on 10 May. She has been struggling to feed her family during the national lockdown.

"I survive on piece jobs working as a domestic worker, and on child support grants which I get for my two youngest children. The money I receive I use to pay for the burial society, PEP funeral cover, and grocery scheme with the ladies in my community. My partner used to cover other things like food, school uniforms and so on. But now no work, no pay."

Lindiwe says when lockdown was announced, she had some food but it soon ran out. And her family has practically no income to cover their basic needs - they rely solely on social grants to survive.

"My situation is bad because my partner also no longer...

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