South Africa: Ribbons Flutter for the Dead As COVID-19 Surge Hits Joburg


Across the world, there have been instances where coronavirus has bypassed big cities. In South Korea, Seoul was spared. Rome didn't have the numbers of infection as in northern Italy. Joburg has not been so lucky - the surge is here. The city has the largest population, there is high-density living, migration and Joburgers generally don't like to be told what to do.

The number of dead is growing faster and faster now as each morning they claim another section of the green palisade fence.

It is on this fence that rings the St James Presbyterian Church in Bedford Gardens that Silva Cossa ties a new crop of ribbons first thing every morning.

Jules street in Malvern lies in Johannesburg's Region F, one the areas hard hit by the virus. (Photo: Shaun Smillie)

Each ribbon represents a South African Covid-19 death and on Wednesday 8 July it took a while for the church caretaker to tie the 192 satin ribbons to the fence.

To date, it was South Africa's highest death toll for a 24-hour period, and in that number were 75 Gautengers, making it a record day for the province too.

Cossa began this morning ritual back when South...

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