Activists across the globe face difficult and sometimes life-and-death questions in this time of pandemic. How can activists lead and give support to keeping communities safe during the pandemic? How do we mobilise and resist in the context of physical distancing? How do we navigate the cruel dilemmas of public health danger and the collapse of economies and livelihoods? What do we imagine as a progressive and just response to COVID-19, and how can this moment be used to start building political alternatives?

In South Africa, activists across the country have mobilised rapidly – from community-based organisations organising for the distribution of food, basic goods and hygiene equipment, to various activist coalitions developing quickly to confront the crisis and trade unions mobilising different strategies to protect workers during this period. At the same time, movements and communities have had to continue to respond to unlawful and brutal evictions, and struggles over the provision of basic services remain under new national circumstances. This section looks to develop debate and discussion about how activists are responding during the global pandemic, and how they are confronting the new questions thrown up by it.