The stories are gut-wrenching. People driven to the brink of such despair by hunger that they’re eating anything from grass and shrubs to tortoises to fill their bellies. A family contracting rabies after eating a stray dog. The cries of the desperate coming through day after day: please, help us. We have nothing. We’re starving.
Residents of the Eastern Cape – South Africa’s poorest province, which includes areas as diverse as the arid plains of the Great Karoo and the lush beauty of the Wild Coast – had already been brought to their knees by a crippling 10-year drought.
Then the pandemic arrived and lockdown stripped away the last vestiges of hope, leaving nothing but misery and desolation.