Friday, 29 June 2012

Pulitzer Prize-winning South African photojournalist who committed suicide in 1994

      In March 1993, while on a trip to Sudan, Kevin Carter was preparing to photograph a starving toddler trying to reach a feeding center when a vulture landed nearby. Carter reported to taking the picture, because it was his "job title", and leaving. 

            He came under criticism for failing to help the girl. The St. Petersburg Times in Florida said this of Carter: "The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering, might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene.

       The photograph first appeared on March 26, 1993, having been sold to the New York Times  Hundreds of people contacted the newspaper to ask the fate of the girl. The paper reported that it was unknown whether she had managed to reach the feeding center. In 1994, the photograph won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. 

             On 27 July 1994 Carter drove to the Braamfontein Spruit river, near the Field and Study Centre, an area where he used to play as a child, and took his own life by taping one end of a hose to his pickup truck’s exhaust pipe and running the other end to the passenger-side window. He died of cxarbon monoxide poisoning aged 33. Portions of Carter's suicide note read: 

                  "I am depressed ... without phone ... money for rent ... money for child support ... money for debts ... money!!! ... I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain ... of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners ... I have gone to join Ken Oosterbroek (recently deceased colleague) if I am that lucky". 

Rwanda: Africa’s success story

            After the 1994 genocide, Rwanda’s new Tutsi-led government was praised for bringing about rapid development marked by a fast pace of internet connectivity, efficient construction and management of public infrastructure, and a good amount of economic growth.

       Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s president, is credited with turning his conflict-ridden country into one of Africa’s biggest success stories. He abolished the death penalty, promoted women’s rights and his economic policies have contributed to Rwanda’s remarkable economic growth.

            However, the recent assassinations of political leaders, press censorship, and military generals fleeing the country have brought some dark side to an otherwise progressive path. As a Kenyan, being so close to the country and knowing its history so well, I hope the Rwandese will be empowered to continuously experience peace and development.


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

We should all assist the impoverished

       According to UNICEF, 25,000 children die each day due to poverty. Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted. The two regions that account for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. 

               Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water. Some 1.8 million child deaths each year as a result of diarrhea. 

           For the 1.9 billion children from the developing world, there are: 640 million without adequate shelter (1 in 3), 400 million with no access to safe water (1 in 5) and 270 million with no access to health services (1 in 7). 

                   0.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (same as children population in France, Germany, Greece and Italy.) 1.4 million die each year from lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. 

      2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized. Millions of parents in developing countries must daily cope with the fact that their children may not survive the first critical years of life; in many cases, the diseases that threaten their children’s lives are preventable.