IN PICTURES | Deserted as SA enters a 21-day lockdown

29 March 2020 - 00:44 By Sunday Times Photographers
The Nelson Mandela Bridge in Braamfontein is uncharacteristically quiet as the lockdown begins.
The Nelson Mandela Bridge in Braamfontein is uncharacteristically quiet as the lockdown begins.
Image: Alon Skuy

In 1965, when US soul musician Wilson Pickett wrote the lyrics "I'm gonna wait 'till the midnight hour, When there's no one else around", he couldn't have imagined what would happen at midnight 55 years later when entire countries went into lockdown amid a worldwide public health crisis.

Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth which is normally crowded with happy people, was deserted.
Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth which is normally crowded with happy people, was deserted.
Image: Euegene Coetzee

Normally busy streets across SA were empty when midnight tolled on Thursday, and they still echoed to the sound of silence when dawn broke on the three-week Covid-19 lockdown on Friday.

Not a soul in sight at Cape Town's Bo-Kaap as lockdown began at midnight.
Not a soul in sight at Cape Town's Bo-Kaap as lockdown began at midnight.
Image: Esa Alexander
The streets of Bloemfontein were deserted shortly after midnight as the 21 day lockdown began.
The streets of Bloemfontein were deserted shortly after midnight as the 21 day lockdown began.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo
A man walks past a building in Cape Town covered with a poster aimed at limiting the spread of Covid-19.
A man walks past a building in Cape Town covered with a poster aimed at limiting the spread of Covid-19.
Image: Reuters
The normally busy Long Street in Cape Town, known for its nightclubs and restaurants, pictured here at midnight when the lockdown began.
The normally busy Long Street in Cape Town, known for its nightclubs and restaurants, pictured here at midnight when the lockdown began.
Image: Esa Alexander

Sunday Times photographers were there to experience the great shutdown.