South Africa

Protea South, Soweto: The words and images of protest

By Greg Nicolson 12 August 2013

GREG NICOLSON spent the long weekend at a service delivery protest in Protea South, Soweto. Exhausted by trying to describe images of the hope, chaos, and despair that define such events, he opens the dictionary to define pictures of a dusty community, tired of promises, and in need of electricity.

Dignity: the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect. An elderly woman cowers behind a wall, terrified of being shot with rubber bullets. She remained on the ground, in fear, long after the police drove away.

Protest: a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something. Protestors use shields to block rubber bullets while trying to keep police out of Protea South.

Violence: behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something. Protestors retreat after chasing police through Protea South’s alleys.

Community: a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. Residents circle a wall to avoid rubber bullets.