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Browsing around my PC’s old hard drives today I stumbled upon the image that won me the Commonwealth Photographic Awards: African Region,  back in 2004.

Johan Botha, South Africa AIDS orphan – Taken in a remote rural area in the South African Limpopo Province, the picture depicts the plea of so many children in an area devastated by the Aids Virus. Left alone and hungry, without the support and love of her parents and no access to primary healthcare. But “hope still shines in the eyes of the youth”.

Johan Botha, AIDS ORPHAN

Looking at the image today, almost 8 years after it was taken, I was instantly transported back to that 42 degrees Celsius afternoon in a remote village in the Limpopo Province, South Africa.

If I close my eyes, I can still hear the high pitch sound of cicadas and smell the dust and smoke from the households wood-burning fires. I remember loading the roll of Kodak Tri-X monochrome film in my old faithful Canon A1 camera that was at that stage already 30 years old. I also remember the “click”, the sound of the shutter and the winding of the motordrive.

The magic happened and the girl’s soul was captured!

Now I cannot help to wonder, is the girl still alive or did she suffer the same fate as so many others; neglected by Government, Society and their own Community!

Follow the following link to a Forum about the 2004 Commonwealth Photographic Awards: