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Long Form

Long Form Journalism by the Bhekisisa Team

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

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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.

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.
Social media has become a breading ground for racism and other harmful behaviour.

Black? A woman? Read why you’re more likely to be a victim of online...

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Are social media algorithms designed to prey the mental health of women and people of colour?

[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...
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...

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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?

‘If men are these monsters’: Life in the fray of SA’s gender-based violence projects

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South Africa is rushing to roll out its first national gender-based violence action plan. But as bureaucracy and the coronavirus pandemic stall progress, violence against women continues unabated. And the hot spots that will receive extra resources, it seems, have been wrongly identified.
Refugees are at risk of developing mental disorders

‘The baby fell, but I just kept running’

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Refugees can flee their countries, but they can't escape the trauma of war.
Zimbabwean doctors went on strike in February for more money and more posts. In 2008

How to fund a failing health system

Could Zimbabwe's new Health Development Fund rescue the country's cash-strapped clinics and hospitals?
What’s behind mysterious cancer hot spots popping up all over the world?

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

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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.
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,...

Bosasa, Gavin Watson & the human cost of corruption

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Bosasa bribed its way into contracts. Meet the four-year-old who paid the price.
Undercover: Bhekisisa reporter Pontsho Pilane posed as a pregnant woman considering an abortion at the Amato Centre in Pretoria to learn about the pregnancy counselling it offers.

Pregnant? Need an abortion? Here’s where not to go

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Are faith-based NGOs breaking the law when they refuse to give women information on where to terminate their pregnancies?

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.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize

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

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Follow the country's health minister's journey from trainee doctor to his current role leading the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in this feature from...
Loveth was trafficked from Nigeria to Italy. Since PIAM was founded

Trafficked to Turin: The Nigerian women forced into sex work abroad in Italy

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Thousands of women are lured from Nigeria to Italy annually by the promise of a new life, only to find themselves trapped in the sex trade.

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.