Thousands of ribbons to remember the coronavirus dead

Thousands of ribbons are pictured tied to the St James Presbyterian Church fence in Bedford Gardens, 16 July 2020.  Each morning Silva Cossa, the church caretaker  ties a new set of ribbons, with each ribbon representing a South African Covid-19 death.  As of 16 July 2020, he had tied 4453 ribbons.  Picture: Tracy Lee Stark 

Each morning caretakers at the church in Bedford Gardens tie a new set of ribbons, with each ribbon representing a South African Covid-19 death.

Over 5,000 ribbons have now been tied to the palisade fence at St James Presbyterian Church in Bedford Gardens, Johannesburg – a stark reminder that real people are being affected by this pandemic.

Each morning a new set of white ribbons are tied onto the boundary fence of the church. The white ribbons fluttering in the wind have nearly covered the entire fence, a ceremonious reminder of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reverend Gavin Lock explains that the church wanted to give a visual representation of the individuals who have lost their lives to Covid-19, but more so to their loved ones and their families who under the current circumstances were not able to be with them and grieve their loss.

Together with his creative team, they came up with the concept to tie a ribbon for each known death that was recorded.

Lock says if you take a drive past the church “it’s simply an invitation for the community to remember that in spite of all the noise and the debate that is going on out there, this is about real people, real people that have lost their lives, real families that are grieving and that everything we do should centre around that awareness.”

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