COVID-19, Life, and Re-existence in an Afro-Colombian Community


  • Ángela Mañunga-Arroyo
  • Debaye Mornan-Barrera
  • Juan David Quiñones



COVID-19 has exacerbated racial violence against the Black population in Colombia. Black communities cannot choose in this context between isolating themselves so as not to get sick and disobeying quarantine so as not to starve. This article invites reflection on the politics of death and life in the Colombian city of Cali. It focuses primarily on the necropolitical dimension of the pandemic, paying attention to the deaths directly or indirectly caused by state negligence of Black lives. Still, it also considers the strategies of resistance by Black communities embracing self-care campaigns and collective care initiatives. If, on the one hand, the pandemic has deepened structural violence and anti-Black racism in Colombia, it has also provided opportunities to reinvent ways of collective survival. Faced with no choices, community organizers have developed actions not only to counteract the biosocial effects of the pandemic but also to create other possibilities of living. These efforts reveal is that Black solidarity, in times of crisis, is part of Black pedagogies of defending life and autonomy and reaffirming Blackness.