Responding to COVID-19 in South Africa–social solidarity and social assistance

Lucy Jamieson (Lead / Corresponding author), Lorraine van Blerk

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)
    333 Downloads (Pure)


    In South Africa, the first stringent COVID-19 lockdown led to joblessness, poverty and isolation from protective social networks stripping many families of the resources they needed to care for children. Whilst widespread hardship was reported, this viewpoint teases out the range of experiences to support policy-making for future pandemics. The authors draw on the findings from the National Income Dynamics Study: Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey and projects that elicited children’s perspectives. These sources reveal that children living in socially and spatially diverse families and locations had different experiences. Vital safety nets include a strong civil society, a culture of ubuntu in rural and peri-urban communities, and the school feeding programme in low-income neighbourhoods. However, permanently raising the child support grant above the food poverty line would protect children during pandemics, mitigate against hunger and reduce the hidden inequalities that exist around access to food between urban and rural areas.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)427-436
    Number of pages10
    JournalChildren's Geographies
    Issue number4
    Early online date10 May 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


    • children’s geographies
    • community solidarity
    • COVID-19
    • inequality
    • social assistance
    • South Africa

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology
    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Sociology and Political Science


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