Photo showed the world SA’s pain
AT MY first job interview, one of the panel members asked where my birthplace was.
Without any sense of hesitation I gave a great narration of where I was born, a typical village in the former Gazankulu homeland, known as Nkwinya-Mahembhe.
It is of paramount importance that I dedicate this youth month to the fellow villager, Sam Masana Nzima, who exposed the suffering and senseless killings of unarmed and defenceless youths, through the lens of a camera.
Then, as a dedicated photojournalist, who saw the massacre of June 16, 1976, he said that brave young people, male and female, made him realise young people had the power to change things. The power to change the world.
As he narrates in the conversation he says that being a journalist at the time wasn’t a good career as they were subjected to unjust rules, assaults and some got killed. In his case he was placed under house arrest and had to flee Joburg and return to the village to pursue business.
The picture etched in our memories is of the heavily bleeding young boy Hector Pieterson in the arms of a strong youth leader, Mbuyisa Makhubu. Following behind in tears is Hector’s sister Antoinette.
It was that picture that frustrated the funders of apartheid, and the apartheid government reacted more violently, refusing to admit the regime would be overthrown soon.
International organisations and other countries’ reaction after the picture was published wasn’t good and threatened fighting fire with fire.
They fought for a good cause. Yes, for a good cause. What happened then matters now…
The political, social and economic situation in the country is of concern. Irrespective of our political affiliations and opinions, it is our right to challenge, question, investigate and seek legal opinion on the irregularities of politicians who claim to be the people’s servants.
Social illness is at its height where our young brothers and sisters are affected by drug or alcohol problems, abuse and crime of some sort. Politics of parties have crippled the youth-empowering institutions where the institutions no longer meet their objectives.
The ailing economy has a huge effect on the poor.
We are subjected to harsh living conditions, isolated from playing a role in the economy which is due to non-funding of education and unemployment. It is in our hands to fulfil the African dream of economic freedom in our lifetime.
Salute to a village icon… Nkwinya-Mahembhe Village
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STUDENTS BLEED: Sam Nzima, legendary photographer at home in Lilydale, Mpumalanga, was proud when a Zimbabwean artist presented him with this sculpture of a dying Hector Pieterson.