Long Form

Long Form Journalism by the Bhekisisa Team

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...
Plural personalities: What life is like living with dissociative identity disorder. (David Brandon Geeting)

My many selves: How I learned to live with multiple personalities

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For years, science battled to understand whether multiple personality disorder was real or not. Today, the condition is known as dissociative identity disorder to...
A pregnant woman sits on a hospital bed.

Headaches, heartaches & pregnancy: Could this stem preeclampsia’s deadly tide?

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This silent killer stalks expecting mothers around the world and is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in South Africa. But still,...

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

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