The Unrest Map tracks incidents of violence, looting, arson, protests and other instability during the nationwide unrest of July 2021. Identified incidents are based on media reporting, and all credit for the tracking and reporting of disturbances belongs to the journalists who covered them. The map aims to provide a high-level overview of the unrest, to allow for both a better understanding of the big picture of the challenges as they unfold, and to facilitate future learning from this very difficult period.

To find out more about an incident, click on any of the nodes on the map. Different nodes represent different types of unrest, as described below.

To filter the map by the date on which an incident was reported, use the slider below. Note that many areas had unrest over multiple days, but each unique incident was only recorded on the day on which it was first reported. Some dates are uncertain and may be subject to later correction.

As of 12 August 2021, 534 incidents had been identified, as shown below. To find out more about the types of incidents listed, rest your mouse cursor over the various sections in the graph.

To report an incident or correct an error on the map, please email Please note that only incidents that are corroborated by official statements, news reports or clear video or photographic evidence will be added.

To better understand the economic circumstances that contributed to the unrest, you can now add an overlay to the map that profiles neighbourhoods by their level of Economic Wellbeing. To turn on the overlay, click the toggle below. Clicking a ward on the map will show you information on the three Wellbeing measures used, namely (1) the share of the population that is employed, (2) the share of the population earning more than R2500 per month, and (3) the share of the population with higher education. All data is sourced from Census 2011, which is the most recent available data source with ward-level information for these measures.

The Unrest Map dataset is produced by Christopher Wood, Devi Pillay and Brandon Almeida. The Unrest Map application is a product of PolicyLab. To download the Unrest Map dataset, load the app on the PolicyLab Desktop portal and click the download methodology button in the top right hand corner of the app window.

Avoiding future instability requires building a more just society. Click the image to download PolicyLab's Position Paper on the Minimum Income Guarantee