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Human Torch | by cliff1066™
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Human Torch

1991 Pulitzer Prize, Spot News Photography, Greg Marinovich, Associated Press

 

Soweto. South Africa: Its not yet dawn when Greg Marinovich and Associated Press reporter Tom Cohen stumble onto a gunfight between supporters of the African National Congress and the predominantly Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party. A train pulls into a nearby station; a Zulu man, Lindsaye Tshabalala, disembarks. "He could have been returning from a night shift or making an early start to visit friends," says Marinovich.

 

ANC youths seize Tshabalaia. "They began to stone and stab him. I watched in shock as he fell to the ground." The assault intensifies; finally, "a man hauled out a massive, shiny Howie knife and stabbed hard into the victim's chest. My heart was racing and I had difficulty taking deep enough breaths. I called out 'Who is he?’ ‘What’s he done?’ A voice from the crowd replied. "He's an Inkatha spy."

 

When Marinovich tries to argue, the attackers insist he stop taking pictures. Marinovich says, "I'll stop raking pictures when you stop killing him." The brutal attack continues. "For those crucial minutes, it was as if I lost my grasp of what was going on. The pictures I kept mechanically snapping off would later substitute for the events my memory could not recall."

 

The Zulu now lies motionless on the ground. Marinovich is momentarily drawn away by an attack on another man. "Suddenly, I heard a hollow 'whoof’ and women began to ululate in a celebration of victory. Dread filled me. The man I thought dead was running across the field below us. His body enveloped in flames. A bare-chested, barefoot man ran into view and swung a machete into the mans blazing skull as a frantic young boy fled from this vision of hell."

 

Marinovich makes it back to his car. "I pulled over and. closing my eyes, began to beat the steering wheel with my fists. I could finally scream."

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Taken on August 13, 2010