South Africa: Shots From the Edge - a Photojournalist's Encounters With Conflict and Resilience

analysis

In this extract, Greg Marinovich tells the story of the forgotten child soldiers of Thokoza - the 'shameful, bitter fruit of liberation' - and the poignant life and death of one of those soldiers, Merchant Mazibuko.

Bitter Fruit: Thokoza, South Africa, 2011

Sunday 21 August 2011. It was a cool night and the pervading sulphurous tang of the coal fire in the kitchen area of the corrugated-iron shack was familiar and comforting. Thabo and his friend Bongani sat low on seats recycled from scrap cars, sharing a joint, when they heard what sounded like a gunshot. The young men peered out. Illuminated by the sodium yellow of the high township lights, they saw a wheelchair on its side and a man immobile alongside it. "Merchant!" Thabo cried out and ran the few metres up the sidewalk. Merchant was alive but not responding, and Thabo gave him mouth-to-mouth in an attempt to resuscitate him. Thabo loosened Merchant's shoes and belt, believing he had suffered a fit; a consequence of his paralysis. It was then that Thabo noticed the bullet wound to his lower back; Merchant had been shot.

Thirty-eight-year-old Merchant Mazibuko died on one of South Africa's most infamous thoroughfares -...

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.