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Organising in a Pandemic

Reflections from 2020

2020 was a challenging year, destabilised by COVID-19. The world came to a stand still and not only were we faced with a global health crisis; but another confirmation of the disparities between states and other institutions as well as among people and societies. In a bid to respond to crises in true fascist fashion, bodies and communities that are deemed disposable remained unaccounted for in the resolve to curb the spread of COVID-19. Measures taken by the World Health Organisation, directing states to impose lockdown restrictions, became a breeding ground for violence against women, children and queer persons. A trend which saw global statistics rising. It is with these realities that Collectives working on the Masakhane (Autonomy) Project  were grappling with; the manifestations of the violations, restriction on movements, lack of access to chronic medications such as ARVs, loss of income and independence thereby resulting in a need and rise in mental wellbeing issues. These intersecting issues rendered Collectives responsible for basic needs that governments ought to be taking care of while human rights movements probe for answers and provide solutions. The reality of this bridging the gap remains bleak to this day. 

COVID-19 is a feminist issue; from the structure and framing of the COVID-19 pandemic, to access to vaccines, to safety and security issues, to increase in the gender pay gap and to building community care in a time of crisis. In this report, Collectives highlight their experiences in organising during a pandemic in particular, mental health issues as a result of isolation from community, the loss of incomes and reimagining organising online and using new technologies.

To read or download the report, click here