Driven by a more infectious new COVID variant, the second wave of South Africa’s coronavirus pandemic has seen considerably more infections than the first wave. This meant health workers have had to deal with more hospitalisations and deaths — and pressure. Bhekisisa visited George Mukhari Academic Hospital north of Tshwane to document the second wave realities experienced by doctors and nurses.
The city of Tshwane, the municipal area in which George Mukhari Academic Hospital is situated, is a COVID hot spot. The hospital lies next to Ga-Rankuwa, a sprawling labyrinth of settlements that stretch to the border of the North West province, and serves a population of about 1.7-million people. We arrived at George Mukhari late morning on January 15 and spent time in the COVID wards, including the intensive care unit, until late afternoon.
James Oatway is an award-winning, independent South African photojournalist. Most of his work revolves around themes of social inequality, migration and people affected by conflict. He is the former Chief Photographer of the Sunday Times. On 18 April 2015, during a wave of xenophobic violence, he photographed the murder of a Mozambican migrant by South African men. The man’s name was Emmanuel Sithole and the images of his death sparked outrage and made international headlines. In 2018 his documentary project on the Red Ants eviction squad, won the prestigious Visa d’or Feature Award in Perpignan, France.