JOHANNESBURG (AP) — It was just a question of time until Africa would fall prey to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Already seasoned by years of conflicts and diseases, the continent was relatively well-prepared to weather the coronavirus storm. Resilience, cooperation and innovation helped Africans survive and flatten the curve of the initial wave of the virus. But for how long?
In the early days of the pandemic, Soweto trains were packed with workers returning home, showing how the virus would spread. As the disease took hold in South Africa, long, snaking lines formed at testing stations in Johannesburg’s Alexandra township and at sports fields in Pretoria and the first COVID-19 victims were laid to rest.
Across the continent, virtually every country went into lockdowns that brought police and military to the streets to keep residents inside their homes. Scenes of panic erupted in Nairobi as food was distributed to the needy, violent riots shook the streets of Nigeria’s economic hub Lagos.
If some took advantage of the pandemic, such as South African officials who allegedly profited from corrupt deals to purchase medical supplies to fight the pandemic, life kept on going for two young Nigerian girls sporting designer sunglasses as they celebrated Eid al-Fitr. Amid the battle against COVID-19, Ethiopia launched an unprecedented crackdown on its Tigray region.
No pandemic could stop children in Sierra Leone’s Kono district from playing for the camera, nor could it prevent a lone gravel biker from riding into the sunset on a cold winter day in South Africa’s Free State province.
Resilience. Innovation. Cooperation. Survival. This is Africa, the continent, in 2020.
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