Marc Shoul Reporting From Johannesburg, South Africa | Coronavirus’ Days

Queues of people wait their turn to enter Alex Mall, Alexandra, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1 April 2020


Documentary Photographer Marc Shoul is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography.  From the project  ‘Time Between’.  To see Marc’s body of work, click on any image.


Onlookers witness members of the South African Police Service confiscate goods from informal street sellers during the lockdown, Hillbrow, Johannesburg, South Africa, 21 April 2020


During the last days of lockdown level 4, Booysens, Johannesburg, South Africa, 31 May 2020


Members of the South African Police Service confiscate goods from illegal informal street traders, Hillbrow, Johannesburg, South Africa, 21 April 2020


“The Storm is Upon Us” – President Ramaphosa


Covid slipped into South Africa while it was busy giving Italy a beating. Anxiety and fear increased as a national state of disaster was announced in March 2020.

Pressed into a morbid game of hide and seek we isolate.  Soon after Ramaphosa announced the procedures for a 21-day lockdown, the South African National Defence Force was deployed to enforce the new reality and rules.

Socially distanced shopping queues snake out into mall parking lots. Trollies overflow with supplies. The banning of liquor and cigarettes sales opened up a massive black market to fill the demand. We stood masked, sanitized, confused and silent. Our hospital systems sat uneasily knowing that it was just a matter of time before the tsunami would hit.

South Africa, already in a recession and freshly demoted to “junk status” when the virus arrived, was told to stay home. For many this meant no income, no future. Crime dropped, although domestic violence spiraled while ruling party officials busied themselves grabbing tenders. The result is that vital safety gear run low in state hospitals.

The lockdown got extended by an additional 14 days, but in truth it has been going on in some ways for months. This did little to stop the rapid spread of the virus.

For many, the walls started closing in and hunger overcame Covid as the most pressing concern.

In-between family duties I would traverse the city, I have found, and share, many stories of heartbreak and many visions of a nation at war, not only with a pandemic but also with itself.

I needed to shoot life in this time of change. I looked at the dramas and the dramas spoke to me through the images they offered up.

Does that mean that all the images are pictures of despair? Indeed, there is plenty of that. But the South African street remains a place of resilience and survival. It has always been that way, and I hope to show that ordinary life goes on, and will flourish, despite this global setback.


A plain-clothes police man secures suspected Zama-Zama (illegal miners, gold in this case), Zamimpilo informal settlement, Johannesburg, South Africa, 14 April 2020


A young lady rolls her eyes as she gets teased by a patrolling army officer, Alexandar, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2020


The South African Defence Force work with the Police Services in a sting operation, Zamimpilo Informal Settlement, Johannesburg, South Africa, 14 April 2020


Suspected illegal gold mine, Zamimpilo informal settlement, Johannesburg, South Africa, 14 April 2020


All images and text © Marc Shoul



See also:

Heartbreak Hotel

By Marc Shoul



Marc’s Previous Contribution To Edge Of Humanity Magazine

Life In Johannesburg



Living Under A Pandemic

COVID-19 | Coronavirus’ Days



Edge of Humanity Magazine is an independent nondiscriminatory platform that has no religious, political, financial, or social affiliations.

We are committed to publishing the human condition, the raw diverse global entanglement, with total impartiality.


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