Sat, 31 Oct 2020

"Things are getting back to normal, even though it will never be like it was before," says a relieved Petunia Maseko, relaxing in a bar in South Africa's Soweto township.

Africa has weathered the coronavirus pandemic relatively well in terms of infections and deaths, though its economies have been badly ravaged.

While many nations ease their Covid-19 measures and citizens dare to breathe a little easier, experts are warning against letting the continent's success lapse into complacency.

There was plenty of celebrating at The Black and White Lifestyle Pub in Soweto on Friday as the first weekend of spring coincided with South Africa's transition to its lowest level of lockdown.

The continent's hardest-hit nation, South Africa has reeled under one of the world's strictest lockdowns.

"It was tough staying in for six months without socialising," said Maseko, a 21-year-old engineering student wearing a brightly coloured Ndebele traditional outfit.

But virus measures were followed, with masked revellers getting their temperatures checked at the bar's entrance.

Sanitising gel in hand, 26-year-old DJ Tiisetso Tenyane was delighted to finally play in front of a live audience after months of live-streaming shows.

"I've been craving to play for the people again," he said.

He said that face masks are "the only sign left that there ever was a pandemic".

On the rest of the African continent, daily life varies vastly between strict observance of health measures and total relaxation.

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