AP PHOTOS: South Africa faces division again, from virus
South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown has brought a unique kind of discomfort to a country where memories of physical separation are yet to fade. Stand there. Step back. Don’t touch.
More than a quarter-century has passed since the end of the racist system of apartheid, or white minority rule. Many South Africans in this youthful country did not live it, but history, and its aftermath, are never far away.
Now it’s inequality, the sharpest in the world, that underlies the odd new daily existence. South Africa’s poor number in the tens of millions but, largely confined to crowded townships that are a legacy of the past, they are “the other” now.
In the jittery early days of lockdown, the homeless were scattered from the streets by police backed by soldiers — the military’s biggest domestic deployment since the end of apartheid in 1994. Their presence brought back ghosts.
Security forces, their guns clutched in hands covered by disposable gloves, now stop strangers and inspect their…
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