The Herald (South Africa)
Emotion high at rework of iconic picture
SLATED and saluted – the re-enactment of the 1976 iconic photograph of Mbuyisa Makhubu carrying the body of Hector Pieterson.
To commemorate Youth Day, DStv’s Channel O recreated Sam Nzima’s image by replacing Pieterson’s body with a graduation cap, robe and certificate.
The agonised expression on the faces of Makhubu and Pieterson’s sister, Antoinette Sithole, are replaced with smiles.
The image carries the tagline, “LIVE THE DREAM THE YOUTH OF ’76 DIED FOR”.
The June 16 1976 Foundation project manager, Oupa Moloto, was involved in the historic Soweto revolt.
“As far as we are concerned that photo is heritage, that photo symbolises the struggles of 1976. You can’t change it. If we change it . . . we are diluting history,” he said.
He took particular exception at what had been done to Makhubu. “We are not even sure if he is alive or not.”
City of Johannesburg deputy director for culture Ali Hlongwane said: “The photo is a representation of youth who look up to a better tomorrow. It is interesting and thought-provoking. However, the June 16 experience is that of atrocity. It [reworked image] can be read as trivialising the loss of life, more so because Mbuyisa is a missing person.”
The image is the work of Nganga Dlanga, from advertising agency Black River FC.
The 24-year-old, who goes as @BabyDlanga on Twitter, received support from personalities including former Miss Teen Celeste Khumalo, Sizwe Dhlomo, Poppy Ntshongwana and model Maps Maponyane.
“Possibly the best representation of June 16, how far we’ve come and what still needs to be done. Well done @BabyDlanga,” Ntshongwana wrote.
“Finally someone nails exactly what Youth Day is all about! Well done @BabyDlanga and @ChannelOTV – this is brilliant,” Maponyane tweeted.
But not everyone on social media was pleased.
Businessman Bo Mbindwane posted the picture on Twitter captioning it: “Despicable – raw insult. Stupid. Insensitive. How dare u play art with real life loss. Yesus!”
Singer Simphiwe Dana called it “an intellectually bankrupt” advert.
“It is erasing the memory of ’76, they even erased Hector Pieterson . . . I am completely against this image . . .
“There are other ways to empower the youth, but erasing our history of what happened is not it. It’s treasonous,” Dana said.