Hector Pieterson photo dramatised

2011-06-16 13:39

 News photographer Sam Nzima’s historic picture of a dying Hector Pieterson (13) being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo after being shot in the June 16 1976 Soweto uprising was dramatised at the Youth Day celebrations at Orlando Stadium today.

A group of children standing outside the stadium portrayed the scene of Pieterson in the arms of Makhubo, with his sister Antoinette Sithole.

Dressed in school uniforms, the three kept still in the scene for minutes, before moving to another part of the stadium and repeating the process.

Others were spotted carrying paintings of the photograph, with one being flung over the walls of the stadium.

Some people wore T-shirts with a print of the picture on it. Also, T-shirts carrying the picture were being sold outside.

A sea of ANC flags were waved across the stadium, and a bright yellow ANC helicopter circled over, to cheers from the crowd.

An electric atmosphere filled the stadium, reminiscent of the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup.

The venue was almost filled to capacity and those in attendance enjoyed performances by hip-hop group Teargas and former Boom Shaka member, Thembi Seete.

DJ Gareth Cliff was expected to address the crowd.

Revving their engines and billowing smoke, a group of bikers with ANC flags converged outside the stadium, waiting to welcome President Jacob Zuma, who was expected to give a keynote address.

A group of Ivory Park Secondary School matric pupils shared their feelings about the historic day.

“It means tons to me... those people fought for us in 1976, and now we can go to school.

“This day is for those people who died for us,” Thokozani Mthembu said.

Elvis Pharu, a pupil, said his parents still considered June 16 to be a day of mourning and not celebration.

“My parents say on this day, in 1976, it was horrible and emotional because everything was planned properly, with no violence... And in the morning, they thought the day would end peacefully.

“But it ended with police shooting and the bloodshed of innocent children. To my parents this is a day of mourning, but for us it’s a day to celebrate our opportunities.”

He added that the freedom he enjoyed today made him happy, also because it afforded him the opportunity to date outside of his race.

His classmate, Simon Voyiya, agreed.

“I’m proud to be in a country were there’s no such thing as race. I would date a white girl, Indian girl, coloured girl, as long as they are not married,” Voyiya laughed.

Asked if his parents would be happy with that, he replied: “It’s a free nation. My parents can’t do anything, because it’s my choice.”

Mlungisi Ndaba said parents needed to educate their children on the importance of June 16.

“I think parents need to talk to children and talk about today, so that they know how important this day is, and won’t use drugs and alcohol,” Ndaba said.

“Education first. Beers later.”

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