South Africa: A Stark Tale of Two Realities - One Lockdown for the Rich, Another One for the Poor


The brutal reality that needs facing is that the only real choice open to the poor is to decide how to die, or, more accurately, of what to die: Coronavirus, hunger, lockdown-compounded gender-based violence, or TB, HIV-AIDS, cancer or any of the other diseases and conditions that have been de-prioritised to make way for the coronavirus.

John Berger, the British art critic and novelist, published his celebrated book, "Ways of Seeing", in 1972. The book explored the different ways that people see and interpret the same visual information. Berger's focus was narrowly on art.

Much more generally, the science of perception has made great strides in showing how each person's experience of the world at large shapes what they see and, hence, what they understand of both themselves and the societal reality in which they find themselves. This same process leads to the formation of groups. People exposed to similar experiences typically end up having similar understandings of themselves etc. What is most often lost in these perceptual processes are that the generalisations are made from what is a highly individualised, though narrowly shared, construction. The outcome is that the singularities of their nonetheless shared views of themselves and...

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