Cape Town is at best a complicated place in our previous normality, complications that are wrenched open during a pandemic. The political questions that ensued were less about masks and individual autonomy than about the ways to endure and cultivate care in increasingly meagre times.
On 31 March 2016, we occupied 16 Bendigo St and made national headlines, forcing the Andrews state government into an embarrassing confrontation. Soon after its inception, the protest drew the attention of the Wurundjeri and Kulin Nation community who helped us exposed the myth of the contemporary housing crisis. For them, housing deprivation and homelessness began with European invasion in 1788.
During the global coronavirus pandemic, Fiji and Papua New Guinea are the only independent nations in the region with confirmed cases of COVID-19, while most Pacific countries are COVID-free: Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, FSM and Palau currently have no confirmed diagnoses of the disease.
Rather than give a detailed description of the events that took place (the #freethe9blocks hashtag on twitter can do this), I was asked to reflect on the lockdown of the towers. The suggestion came after conversations with IPCS, as we were searching for another space to house donations.