Monday, September 17, 2012


                                                                 Today I was Mobbed

     I do not claim to be a rock star, a movie star, or a star of any kind, but the moment I raised my camera to take a photo of half a dozen little 1st graders on the playground of Phakamile Primary School N.U. (Native Unit 1) in East London, I became the dazzling idol of over fifty screaming school children rushing toward me to be in the photo.  I was like a magnet drawing iron filings, the object of a swarm of  angry bees, and a cornfield to a host of invading locusts - I was mobbed.
     Yes, I was mobbed, totally mobbed like I have never been mobbed before in my life.  Swarmed over like an army of ants attacking an invading trespasser. Rushed upon like a huge tidal wave or a charging herd of wild buffalo pounding across the prairie. I was enveloped by a horde of screaming, laughing, hysterical 1st graders all anxious to be included in the magic eye of the camera.  

       I only intended taking a photo of a few kids playing in the dirt, but my camera triggered an onslaught of rushing little people that grew in seconds to a monstrous tsunami. The impact of this charge by 50-70 little Black children knocked me backwards several steps and in seconds I was surrounded by a sea of bubbling humanity. Little Black hands tugging, pushing, pulling, reaching, caressing white arms they may have never seen nor felt before. Smiling faces, voices ringing with laughter, the innocence of youth pitched with excitement, in awe of a Whiteman and his camera taking their picture.

      The onrush of these delightful, enthusiastic little Black children screaming, smiling, giggling, was amazing. So obligingly I clicked away with the camera accommodating their insatiable appetite for being in a photo, ‘til time for class called them away.

        I have been on stage and received the applause for actors in a cast, and experienced  compliments from members of an appreciative audience. But never have I been afforded the luxury of screaming, frenzied fans rushing at me on the stage of their playground, playing the role of a Whiteman holding a camera. Thus is was on a sunny day in Africa, I became a star.

Elder T. Stokoe




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