Sunday, June 19, 2011

'Joke' version of June 16 photo

19 June, 2011 

A fiery debate over whether a parody of the photograph of Hector Pieterson is in bad taste has divided commentators on social networking pages.

The original photograph by photographer Sam Nzima was taken in Soweto on June 16 1976, when police opened fire on child protesters.

Now a photograph in which three unknown people poke fun at the image has gone viral - with many lashing out at the "disrespect" shown to Pieterson.

Pieterson, 12, was shot dead by police and the image of his lifeless body being carried in the arms of 18-year-old Mbuyisa Makhubo, with Pieterson's distraught sister Antoinette Sithole running beside them, drew international attention.

Cartoonists have in the past used the famous image in political satire.

The parody now doing the rounds recreates the scene with a cigarette-smoking man carrying a grinning, younger boy who holds two quarts of beer in his hands.

And the image has left commentators on Facebook divided.

Mosekwa Tshikosi commented: "My first instinct is outrage ... but this picture is no more stupid than a fair amount of 'celebratory' ceremonies that were held across the country."

He added: "This does appear to be a metaphor of how far removed this society is from the ethos of self-sacrifice depicted in the original picture."

Sandra Dlamini said the image was ''grossly insensitive and inconsiderate".
Millicent Beloved Kapitako called it "a sign of the times".

"The youth of today have succumbed to hedonism. It's a blatant mockery of the state of ignorance about our apartheid past. This is sad. When r (sic) we going to wake up from this slumber?" she asked.

But Mike Fraser said South Africans should not allow "one derogatory picture to upset us to the point of generalising about how bad things have become with our youth in South Africa".

"The picture is intended to denigrate a very meaningful time in our country's history, and the reaction to it is exactly what the sick person who took it wanted," he said.

"Something like this doesn't deserve to be dignified with any response. Social media is a breeding ground for sick pranksters. I refuse to lose hope in the wellbeing of our youth because of sick pictures," Fraser said.

Cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, better known as Zapiro, said: ''People have a right to do what they want with an image, but at the same time they run the risk of their motivation being misunderstood."

Shapiro added it was important for people to think and talk about the values of the June 16 uprising.

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