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Long Form

Long Form Journalism by the Bhekisisa Team

The youngsters have successfully completed their initiation and are now regarded as men. The campsite where the initiates stayed is burnt after the initiation is completed.

[From our archives] The boys who lost their manhood

During this initiation season, we look back at what happened in 2013 when bungled initiations cost boys their penises.
A teenager receives a vaccination

How this country is beating anti-vaxxers at their own game

One in three French people think vaccines are unsafe, yet vaccine coverage in the country is rising. Here’s how they do...
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.
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?
Making waves: Women on Web offers an online portal that dispatches an abortion pill to people across the world.

‘I told them I had a miscarriage. But the nurses knew what had really...

Go inside the international network of women willing to break the law to give people access to termination of pregnancy services.

Bosasa, Gavin Watson & the human cost of corruption

Bosasa bribed its way into contracts. Meet the four-year-old who paid the price.
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.
Man walking on a dirt road in Togo.

Doing the ‘tramadol dance’: What this latest music craze says about Africa’s pill addiction

The illicit trade in this prescription pain killer has become the stuff of ballads and dance halls but its abuse is...
Most medical aids won't cover a new

The WHO, the drug & women’s right to choose: The story behind dolutegravir

Take a look at the newest HIV treatment set to hit South Africa's shores in 2019.
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.
Man in Ebola protection suit.

‘Most complex health crisis in history’: Congo struggles to contain Ebola

Political, security and cultural complications – not least a refusal to believe that Ebola exists – have thwarted efforts to overcome...
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?

The magistrate’s tail: How these pets are helping child rape victims get justice

In court, comfort for the tiniest victims of sexual abuse can come from the unlikeliest of places.
More than half of men in Diepsloot report having sexually or physically abused a woman in their lifetimes

Diepsloot: Where men think it’s their right to rape

Crime stats released in 2015 reported a drop in rape cases, but experts say this is because fewer people are bothering to report rapes to the police.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize

Meet Zweli Mkhize, the man behind SA’s #COVID-19 response

Follow the country's health minister's journey from trainee doctor to his current role leading the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in...

Life on a hotter earth: Depression, drought & decolonising mental health

As the climate crisis worsens, arid parts of South Africa are expected to get even hotter and even more water-scarce. In...