Harnessing The Thunder
Civil Society’s Care and Creativity in South Africa’s Covid storm
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Covid-19 amplified the seismic rumblings of South Africa’s divided society. They became part of the thunder of the storm. Out of the limelight and away from corruption scandals, a vast network of civil society organisations mobilised as the pandemic approached. During lockdown, they stepped up to provide food, shelter and personal protective equipment to millions of people whose incomes just stopped. But they did more than that.
They harnessed the thunder, directing attention to people who are usually not seen or heard – compelling the nation to take a long, hard look at itself. Why, in normal times, are so many children hungry, women abused, people drunk, and youth locked out of the digital revolution? Then they showed how different things can be. They found answers to some of the country’s tough questions. Their call to government and the private sector is to embrace civil society and the solutions it can offer.