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Long Form

Long Form Journalism by the Bhekisisa Team

Trials, tinsel & tango: Go inside Linda-Gail Bekker’s COVID world

Linda-Gail Bekker says researching infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and HIV is like a colossal round of the murder mystery cluedo. Follow the story of the scientist with the purple pixie-cut from a farm in Zimbabwe to her inauguration as the first African president of the International Aids Society and beyond.

‘Where the governments see statistics, I see the faces of my friends’

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Yvette Raphael describes herself as a ‘professional protester, sjambok feminist and hater of trash’. Government officials would likely refer to her as ‘a rebel’. She’s fought for equality her entire life, she says. And she’s scared of no one.

What developing countries can teach the Global North about how to respond to a...

When it comes to leadership and innovation, there's much that industrialised nations can learn. Nine months into the pandemic, Europe remains one of...

Why COVID school closures are making girls marry early

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The pandemic’s impact is long-term: the UN warns that it could lead to 13 million more child marriages over a decade.

From stranded to solitude: How the short-lived relief of repatriation could be people’s tipping...

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As South Africa enters level two of its national lockdown, international travel remains restricted. One of the few exceptions are repatriation flights, which require a mandatory quarantine period. But the toll of mounting stress and isolation may have long-term consequences on people’s mental health.

The lost particles of grief: How COVID-19 is changing death

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From grandmothers to gravediggers, the sudden, suffocating deaths of the coronavirus pandemic is affecting people in all sectors of South African society. Here’s one...

A tale of two pandemics: Is COVID-19 repeating the mistakes of HIV’s past?

In South Africa, two outbreaks are colliding and one thing may shape the future of both.

The unbearable loneliness of COVID-19

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There are no visiting hours for COVID-19 patients. Instead, there’s anxiety, fear, stigma and potential grief. But there’s also — at least some — resilience.

The dark smell of illness: One family’s struggle for news from inside the ICU

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You can’t visit family members with COVID-19 in hospital. So how do you find out how they’re doing? Mia Malan from the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism documented one woman’s story.
Lesotho netcare hospital

Why the public-private partnership to build Lesotho’s only specialist hospital floundered

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It was hailed as a revolution in private investment in healthcare in Africa but almost a decade after it was opened, Lesotho’s only specialist...

[From the archives] The lockdown women planning their escape from abusive homes

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Take a look back at the barriers survivors of gender-based violence faced in the stricter levels of South Africa's coronavirus lockdown. Back then, shelters...

Can you pause a pandemic? Inside the race to stop the spread of COVID-19...

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Tracing the close contacts of people who test positive for coronavirus disease is a delicate dance. Here’s why these health workers wait for the...

A new kind of chemistry: Why science is rethinking the humble bed net

Disease-spreading mozzies may be getting wise to our best defences, but science is fighting back. Ruth Uwamahoro clutched her toddler son tight. The strength of...
cerebral palsy

A parent’s place? Meet the women fighting for space at SA’s rural hospitals

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Botched births and infections can leave many babies with a life-long inheritance: Cerebral palsy. Many will be dependent on caregivers for their entire lives,...

The long walk back to yourself: How this hospital revolutionised rural rehabilitation

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Bhojana Mathunywa was attacked by four men for bag of tobacco. Now, slowly but surely, this team of rural therapists is helping him recover the everyday skills he lost. (Dylan Bush, Bhekisisa)

Teletubbies and friends: Inside the bizarre science behind your child’s favourite show

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What makes the world’s most successful children’s TV programmes so addictive – and so strange? Linda Geddes explores the research on kids’ TV, what...