Story by Constance van Niekerk in Vereeniging, SA
SOME of us have stopped watching the news because there’s never anything good to put a smile on our faces. Sometimes it feels like the human race is just on a self destruction path, there’s so much hate, so much crime, so much killing that one has to wonder, ‘Is there any hope for us?’
I didn’t think so, especially in our beloved South Africa until I saw the photos taken at the 2017 South African Cross Country Championships held last Saturday, the 9th of September in Potchefstroom. These are photos of North West’s athlete Ronen Oosthuizen (U17) stopping his own race to assist fellow athlete Gauteng North’s Mpho Mitchell (U16). This tells me that there is HOPE for the human race, young Ronen has put smiles and tears on many faces, regardless of colour.
The photographer, Roger Sedres of ImageSA described the moment he captured on camera, ‘Seeing these two young boys coming into the home straight, one in utter agony and the other keeping him upright with the little strength he had left, I immediately realised that this was an iconic South African sporting moment. This was history playing itself out right before my eyes and I had to capture every moment. It’s the same kind of feeling I get seeing our athletes hold up our national flag at a World Championships or Olympic Games. Its my small contribution to nation building and I still get goosebumps when it happens.’
I believe there are many Ronens out there, whose stories are overshadowed by those of hate. Their photos are erased in favour of those who discriminate. I hope they don’t stop what they are doing, the world needs every act of love no matter how small. It might never be published, but it will put a smile on someone’s face. It will change someone’s attitude.
Hats off to the parents of this young man. You have raised an incredible gentleman. May he win many races in future! Well done!
The late former president of SA once said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion … if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.”
There’s indeed hope for us, it just takes you and I.
Photographer: Roger Sedres