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Long Form

Long Form Journalism by the Bhekisisa Team

Nos vs Elsa

Elsa and Nosipho: they both sell sex for a living, but in opposite worlds

Does sex work legislation have an impact on violence and the spread of HIV? We follow two women who operate in opposite worlds to find out.
From the informal market to booming business: Could this be the future of water?

Water in Ghana from pipe to packet: Is there a hidden cost to this...

In a country where pipes can stop short of reaching home, cheap sachets of water sold on the street could be an unlikely solution, but at what cost?
Blood cancer patients such as Retha Wessels are forced to get a life-saving drug illegally to avoid paying thousands for it each month.

He would ransom the pills for something more precious than profit: His wife’s life

When a few months of treatment costs as much as a house, some patients are taking their lives and the law into their own hands to survive.
Tender delays have pushed a shortage of the popular birth control shot Nur-Isterate into its second year.

This popular birth control shot is out of stock for the second year running....

Women who have been forced to go without their usual birth control shot are now facing the consequences of months-long shortages.
A mother delivers via C-section in Mozambique. In South Africa

A changing birth: What’s behind SA’s skyrocketing c-section rates?

Almost one in four babies born at public hospitals come into the world via c-section but is it costing some women their lives?
Sold on the idea: Asiphe Ntshongontshi used the family calendar to keep track of when she took the HIV prevention pill. She lives in Masiphumelele outside Cape Town close to a youth centre and clinic that dish out the tablet.

One she called the ‘minister of love’. The other? He was the ‘minister of...

Since the country’s rollout, less than a quarter of people who’ve started taking the HIV prevention pill are young women — despite high HIV rates.
‘Don’t leave me

Cost of corruption – How a toddler  died at Bosasa’s detention centre

Bosasa bribed its way into contracts. Meet the four-year-old who paid the price.
Being bilingual is better for your brain. Now

Speak more than one language? This is what it does to your brain.

Speaking more than one language could lead to better tests scores and even being a more empathetic person.
What’s behind mysterious cancer hot spots popping up all over the world?

Could this finally solve the Eastern Cape’s cancer mystery?

The substances that cause cancer leave their fingerprints behind. Now, the world may be closer than ever to unravelling the clues hidden in our DNA.
​Acid victim Hanifa Nakiryowa founded the Center for Rehabilitation of Survivors of Acid and Burns Violence.

Acid attacks: ‘I didn’t have the money to buy justice, but I had brains...

In the wake of acid attacks, victims — often women — can feel hopeless. Now, women around the world are fighting back.
The quest for a better life may be going virtual.

Gaming medicine: Virtual reality is bringing real-time relief for chronic pain

Virtual reality isn’t just for video games anymore. It’s revolutionising medicine, including the way we manage pain.
What happens when anesthesia works as well as it should?

This is what it’s like waking up during surgery

General anaesthetic is supposed to make surgery painless. Now there’s evidence that one person in 20 may be awake when doctors think they’re under.
A smoky Port Harcourt street. Doctors have warned of the health-related consequences of the city’s poisonous black soot.

Poisonous haze: Why the air we breathe could kill us

Climate change and air pollution could be conspiring against the continent, and fuelling new levels of death and disease.
Nigeria’s maternal mortality is high. But if mothers such as Oluwakemi Junaid won’t go to hospital

Old birth rites, new ways

When bringing a new life into the world risks taking another, even old traditions have to adopt new ways.
Ebola has flared up again in the Democratic Republic of Congo

After Ebola: What happens when the virus fades and the NGOs — and money...

Ebola wiped out nearly 10% of Liberia’s doctors and nurses. Take a look at life for those it left behind.
Naloxone is cheap

Saved: How drug users gained the power to reverse overdoses

Find out how drug users banded together to use a simple injection to save thousands of lives.