Photo Credit: Marc Shoul
August 25, 2020
Time Between by Marc Shoul

Marc Shoul’s photographic series ‘Time Between’ documents his travels through his hometown of Johannesburg in South Africa as the pandemic brings the country to a halt, and his efforts to find resilience and hope in beyond the despair and disarray the pandemic ensued.

 

"The Storm Is Upon Us", South African President Cyril 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 were 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 cigarette 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.

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

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 (acquiring government contracts). The result is that vital safety gear ran 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 they 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.   

South Africa now sits uneasily at fifth place on the list of highest Covid incidences in the world.


Onlookers witness members of the South African Police Service confiscate goods from illegal street sellers during the coronavirus lockdown, Hillbrow, Johannesburg, South Africa, 21 April, 2020
 
The SADF (South African Defence Force) work with the police force in a sting operation during the lockdown period due to coronavirus, Zamimpilo Informal Settlement, Johannesburg, South Africa, 14 April, 2020
 
A chained dog barks at South African Defence and Police forces while on a sting operation, Zamimpilo Informal Settlement, Johannesburg, South Africa, 14 April, 2020
 
Members of the South African Police Service confiscate goods from illegal street traders during the coronavirus lockdown, Hillbrow, Johannesburg, South Africa, 21 April, 2020
 
Fogging, Sandhurst, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2 June, 2020
 
Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa, 21 April, 2020
 
Suspected “Zama-Zama” (illegal miners) arrested and their gold mining equipment confiscated during a sting operation during the lockdown period due to coronavirus, Zamimpilo informal settlement, Johannesburg, South Africa, 14 April, 2020
 
Mumbatho and his shambok sees that shoppers keep a meter distance from each other while waiting to enter Discount Foods,  during the lockdown period due to coronavirus,  HillbrowJohannesburg, South Africa, 17 April, 2020 
 
During the last days of lockdown level 4, Booysens, Johannesburg, South Africa, 31 May, 2020
 
Thulani, street-side mechanic and aspiring musician, plays his guitar through an amplifier in the back of his truck, during the coronavirus lockdown, Diepkloof, Soweto, South Africa, 26 April, 2020
 
Suspected “Zama-Zama” (illegal miners) arrested,  Zamimpilo informal settlement, Johannesburg, South Africa, 14 April, 2020
 
A young lady rolls her eyes as she gets teased by a patrolling army officer,  during lockdown due to coronavirus, Alexander, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2020
 
A girl plays while residents from Booysens informal settlement wait in line to receive private charitable food parcels and soup, during the lockdown due to coronavirus, Booysens, Johannesburg, South Africa, 12 April, 2020
 
Small and over crowed living quarters result in people not being able to self isolate, Alexander, Johannesburg, South Africa, 10 April, 2020
 
Suspected illegal gold mine,  Zamimpilo informal settlement, Johannesburg, South Africa, 14 April, 2020
 
Bhanis Cycles, Orange Grove, Johannesburg, South Africa, 16 July, 2020
 
L to R, Thihu, Lidia and David, during the coronavirus lockdown, Diepsloot, Johannesburg, South Africa, 6 April, 2020
 
Grace, Riverlea, Johannesburg, South Africa, 24 April, 2020
 

Soweto, South Africa, 4 April, 2020



All images and licenses can be bought from Panos.co.uk

The Hospital Series by Asya Lukin

Shelter in Place, Adam W. McKinney

Time Between by Marc Shoul