Split-Second Story: Crimes and Retribution


It is hot and still. Two ladies apply homemade sunscreen in the shade, waiting while their coals heat up. This morning they will cook bread. They will sell it this afternoon.

Life is good enough, as long as people need bread.

And then the police arrive.

“Where’s your vendor’s licence?”


I visited Masiphumelele Township on the Thursday before the Easter weekend; a busy and abnormally profitable time of year for anyone selling their wares in Masi. Everyone was friendly and polite, except the police who roared around the streets in their cruisers, ceremoniously shutting down any stalls whose owners couldn’t pay the exorbitant vendors’ licence fees.

The photograph tells a split-second story. The story itself is part of a collection of 50 50-word stories I’m writing.


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