chapter  5
32 Pages

Observations

When Sibonile takes a picture of his teacher, he intervenes in a moment that has become tense, particularly for the teacher who is overwhelmed by anger. By taking a photograph, he releases tension built up amongst the youngsters

hanging out in the corridor, who seem both amused and slightly uncomfortable about the situation. The tension between the teacher and learner captures everyone witnessing the drama and reminds them, or at least reminds Sibonile, of previous situations in which the same teacher has been unreasonable and lost control in front of the class. By stepping in with the camera, Sibonile emphasises his sympathy with his classmate and reminds the teacher that she is alone in this conflict. The picture freezes the situation literally by turning it into a snapshot and figuratively by taking a side and defining the teacher as someone being violent. It thereby emphasises the tension of the positioning which the teacher and learner in conflict are already busy producing. Taking the picture therefore has the same impact on the situation as I suggest violence has in moments of tension. It releases tension. It changes the dynamic between the people interacting. It challenges the process of positioning.