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Ignorance of Mankind

There is nothing left to blame other than the ignorance of mankind. Moments before this, planet earth was a kingdom thriving with infinite species, some, that will now, never be known to man.

Nature flourished and grew, evolving alongside the transformation of our environment. As we stepped on to this very place we call ‘home’ nothing has stopped us from modifying and reshaping the ways of nature. Interference has wounded the so very fragile aspects of our ecosystem and we have come to a point at which our survival is under threat.

South Africa, 2019.

The headlines read: ‘there has been a 9000% increase in the numbers of rhinos poached since 2007’

An aged man, sitting hunched in a chair, watches the news. You can see the silhouette of the last few strands of thin hair that clung to his mottled scalp. The light from the television illuminating his face, reveals an expression of frustration and fatigue. His slender legs, that long forgot what it was like to move without pains, are outstretched in front of him. They are tired, from serving too many years of life. Weak and frail, his frowns only enhance the heavily lined, deeply wrinkled and sagging face, that watched silently. His eyes however, far from silent.

He remembers his experience. His photo: the one he hoped would have made a difference……

South Africa, 2004.

Standing behind a lens I watched. I hadn’t done, or said, anything. I just watched, and clicked. Clicked, and then clicked again. Hoping to provoke change.

The fleeting colors of the sun mixed in with the iridescent blue of the young night sky. The fiery rays of the sun that stretched far and wide, encompassed the grasslands of Africa. Tinted red and gold the sky complimented -perfectly- the blood of a rhino. Deep and dark, it once flowed through his veins, that now ran dry. The sense of achievement was evident, as one of the men held up the horn, as if to announce the extinction of another species. Their eyes glistened bright with joy, rivalling the reflection of the uprising moon on the lake nearby. Not to mention their smiles, perfect crescents. But eyes black, like pools of ink, the rhino laid, submissive, looking out into the vast landscape. Looking beyond, into home. You could see the tips of the long grass sway elegantly, with each gust of wind that tickled the surface of the savanna. The sun had now set, and it felt as though the globe pulled on a big black coat. The moon shone bright in the distance, accompanied with a few stars that had dared to glow alongside it.

His picture, finally made it onto the breaking news, and it certainly received expected responses.

‘Shocking!’ ‘That’s disgraceful.’ ‘How could they?’ Sitting in front of the News with a cup of tea, these phrases are very common. Every day, we are exposed to a barrage of violence, injustice and crime, and therefore we are now indifferent to some of the most inhumane acts of humanity. Living in the urban world, we do not know what goes on outside our little communities, we do not realize the rapid change the world is undergoing. It is drastic and needs change.

It was easy to watch, to react, but not to act. How much was this picture really worth?

Nothing.

The man recalls the day when…

All guilt had disappeared, as the shop buzzed with people. Carved and shaped to perfection, the necklace had twinkled under the spotlight of a shop, and no doubt, it had caught the eye of many. Radiating from it had been a faint, elegant spectrum of a rainbow. I remember how that day, I had walked a few steps forward to get a closer look. Although I still couldn’t see much, it was a piece that exemplified fine art; it was special. There was nothing like it. This necklace had been made because I had stood there, and had watched. Watched the horn being cut off, the horn of one of the most fragile species on earth. Then I’d put the evidence on the news. Clearly, it had made no difference.

What this man is watching in the news, is history repeating itself.

To imagine the scene emerge time and time again was painful. To see the eyes of the poacher twist and swirl only to stare back at mine, made the glint in his eyes pierce straight through my stiff heart. A heart, stiff and desensitized to the worst acts of man. I felt demeaned. Disgusted. Ashamed, because all I did was stand behind a lens and watch. I did not do, or say, anything. I just watched, and clicked. Clicked, and then clicked again. But, I had a job to do.

This man, now sits, forlorn and powerless, knowing that what he worked for his whole life did not do much. In fact, it did not do anything.



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