When the staggering photograph was seen on news stands around the planet, of a Sowetan teen running down the centre of a road carrying a lifeless boy in both his pleading arms something happened to his same generation in every continent of earth. That photograph compelled young people around the globe to awareness of and action against apartheid. It was about us.
If a photograph was fuel and consciousness fire then this was proof of the chemical reaction. The fire raged from The Soweto Uprising in 1976, an uprising of schoolchildren. This photograph was witness and it burned. It burned and burned into the collective consciousness of the world.
So today I pass The Hector Peterson Museum (It is he who carries) where the life size photograph stands frozen in time whereas like water around a hunched boulder those Sowetan school children, the ones who lived, are now grown men and women with children themselves who wait on Christmas for presents from Maponya Shopping Mall in the heart of Soweto.
I can still smell fire though, from embers deep. Sometimes when a man walks past or children run or a woman turns and puts her bags down I see faint swirls of smoke curl behind them. Tales.