Friday, 18 May 2018

A Week in Pictures Middle East & Africa May 18, 2018

It was not easy to pick a single image from the clashes on the Israel-Gaza border but Ibraheem Abu Mustafa’s image is breathtakingly powerful. Figures running from the black smoke, flames, live fire and incoming tear gas canisters combine all the elements of the day. The only real colour in a black and dark picture is that of the Palestinian flag. You can see Ibraheem’s personal account of how he took his picture here

Palestinian demonstrators run for cover from Israeli fire and tear gas during a protest against U.S embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza strip May 14, 2018.   REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa 

Surrounded in black shadows, the face of a dead child is gently touched by a relative at her funeral. The light seems to be borrowed from a high renaissance painting. Mohammed Salem’s image is as powerful as it is sad. To me the silence around the scene is deafening. A complete contrast from the smoke, fire, noise, anger and bloodshed that filled images from the previous day. I am saddened by this but the debate surrounding this death will rage on. 

A relative mourns as she carries the body of eight-month-old Palestinian infant Laila al-Ghandour, who his family claim died after inhaling tear gas during a protest against U.S embassy move to Jerusalem at the Israel-Gaza border during her funeral in Gaza May 15, 2018.   REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Thaier Al-Sudani’s colourful picture of a woman displaying her ink-stained finger after voting is a wonderful mix of bold colour, shape and line. What is most attractive about this image is that even though it has all the colours of the rainbow, your eye is drawn straight to the woman’s face and hand, framed in the solid blacks. Once you have looked at her face and inky finger, your eye can move on to enjoy the colours.

An Iraqi woman shows her ink stained finger after casting her vote at a polling station during the parliamentary election in the Sadr city district of Baghdad, Iraq May 12, 2018.   REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani 

I can’t help smiling at the reaction of the fans in this picture by Zoubeir Souissi as the riot police officer charges at them. The man on left seems to be saying, “not me, honest,”  the man in the middle is running away -  “I’m out of here” - while the man on the right is just sitting there – “innocent me”. Let’s hope none of them got whacked by the policeman’s baton. 

Riot Police chase Club African fans during clashes at the Tunisian Cup final against Etoile Sportive du Sahel in Tunis, Tunisia, May 13, 2018.   REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

What is most appealing in Ammar Awad’s picture is the optical illusion that the man being photographed appears to be floating in the air. This illusion is created by the shadow cast on the ground in the lower part of the image. At first glance, you might think it is being cast by the man being photographed, but it is not. If you look carefully you can see that his shadow is cast behind him and the shadow in the foreground is that of the boy taking pictures.   

People take pictures of the U.S and Israeli national flags that are projected on part of the wall surrounding Jerusalem’s Old City May 14, 2018.   REUTERS/Ammar Awad

It’s hard to ignore this bold and colourful picture by Zoubeir Souissi as it jumps out at you from the page. This is a classic case of an image that can read as easily in tiny form published on a mobile device as it can if it were printed the size of a billboard.  The big red triangle directs the eye to the lone demonstrating figure.    

The shadow of a protester holding a Palestinian flag is seen during protests against the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem, in Tunis, Tunisia, May 15, 2018.   REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

Portraits are some of the hardest pictures to shoot well, especially when you only have a short time to capture your subject in the street. Akintunde Akinleye’s affectionate portrait of a rat poison seller is a well-composed image of understated and muted tones and colours. A wry smile creeps across my face when I see ‘doctor’ written on his hat and the words rat, rat, and kill come into focus from the eye line of the man who’s just creeping into the edge of the frame. A lucky break too for Akintunde as the man on the edge has a most wonderful outfit of striped blue and white. Any more into the frame, he’d be a distraction from the ‘doctor’ and any less he would not be there.

A man selling rat poison sits on a stool as he waits for customers at Oiodu district in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, May 3, 2018.  REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

Although a Week in Pictures is not so much about the top news stories but more about the pictures that have caught my eye, this week it is dominated by the clashes on the Gaza-Israeli border. This story has thrown up so many great images it’s hard not to include them. You almost choke on the fumes in Ibraheem Abu Mustafa’s picture, as tiny figures dwarfed and engulfed by the raging flames and black smoke, run in different directions in the chaos.  

Palestinian demonstrators run during a protest marking the 70th anniversary of Nekba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza strip, May 15, 2018.    REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

The curved compositional shape created by the coffins and the people standing on the edge of the mass grave make me think of a giant mouth that is going to consume the bodies of those killed in the flood. The different-sized coffins in the dark hole add to this impression, as they look like broken teeth in blackened gums. The sadness is quite overwhelming when you notice that the many are the coffins are small, holding the bodies of drowned children who will soon be swallowed by the earth.  

Coffins are seen arranged inside a mass grave during the burial of people killed when a dam burst it walls, the water flooding onto nearby homes, in Solai town near Nakuru, Kenya May 16, 2018.   REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

To illustrate the start of Ramadan in the region, Amr Abdullah Dalsh shot this calm picture of reflection and prayer. This mood is created by wide space around the lone figure, his white robes highlighted against the black symmetrical background of the arched doorways and graceful sweep of the drapes. The high contrast of black against white is held in by the pastel colours of the brickwork and marble flooring

A member of the Bohra community prays inside the Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah Mosque on the first day of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in Cairo, Egypt, May 17, 2018.    REUTERS/Amr Abdullah Dalsh

Sunday, 13 May 2018

A Week in Pictures Middle East & Africa May 11, 2018

Finding a new picture at an event that is visually strong but also repetitive is never easy. In Ibraheem Abu Mustafa’s powerful image, the notion of combating tear gas with sports rackets raises the bar even higher. What is also a little strange is that although this is a striking image taken in a very dangerous situation I feel uncomfortable, since it may verge on gallows humour. Do you get this sense too? See more images from the clashes here.

A Demonstrator uses a racket to return a tear gas canister fired by Israel troops during a protest where Palestinians demand the right to return to their homeland, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza strip, May 11, 2018.   REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

What seemed impossible six months ago now appears to be happening - an election in July in Zimbabwe. Maybe I am reading too much into this wonderfully graphically composed image by Philimon Bulawayo, but it looks like a picture of hope. I am attracted to the shape created by the profile of the silhouetted delegate perfectly placed between the smiling face of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the text. It looks like advice is being whispered into the president’s ear.

A delegate arrives for a meeting between Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and liberation war veterans in Harare, Zimbabwe, may 11, 2018.  REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

There is only one way to describe Ari Jala’s picture from Mosul: chilling. The eye is immediately drawn into the simple zigzag triangular design of the image, punctuated by the repeated image of an execution painted on the wall, again, and again, and again. It’s only then that you notice the neatly turned-out schoolgirl heading to her lessons. Read the story here

An Iraqi student walks past a school wall covered with drawings showing how Islamic State executed prisoners in Mosul, Iraq April 30, 2018.   REUTERS/Ari Jalal

When a detail picture is well shot it can often explain so much in a story. This is true of Thomas Mukoya’s picture of footprints in deep mud. The rippled surface of the ground is broken by footsteps that lead you from the rear of the image out into the foreground. For me, this raises a question. Is this people fleeing a natural disaster or people coming to the rescue? I have to read on to find out, and you can do so here.

Footprints are seen on wet ground as volunteers arrive for a recovery mission after a dam burst, unleashing water through nearby homes in Solio town, near Nakuru, Kenya May 10, 2018.    REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Often in the Middle East and Africa region there is little to celebrate in terms of good news and I resist the temptation to try to find ‘good news’ images to soften the harsh realities of the week’s file. But, I am actually an optimist and when a good news picture is filed it jumps out at me. Two such images are from Mohamad Torokman, who is more often in the thick of violent clashes. How could I resist the sheer joy in the picture of a groom being held aloft, upturned faces laughing and smiling, and the line of lights seeming to echo the bounce of the groom on the sea of hands? And likewise, how could I resist the smiling sales assistant holding up a wedding dress as if she is part of the choreography for a Swan Lake ballet? I could not, so here they are.

Palestinian groom Hejres Torokman is thrown in the air during his wedding party in Jenin in the occupied West Bank May 7, 2018.   REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

A Palestinian saleswoman displays a wedding dress in a store in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank May 9, 2018.   REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman  

An election in Lebanon is not easy to cover. Security is a concern and trying to get away from the standard fare of press conferences, politicians arriving or leaving buildings, (often in cars) or being mobbed by supporters in secure areas, is almost impossible. Almost impossible too is to find a generic image that can be used to explain the complexities of the story. Jamal Saidi has done well to find this simple semicircle shape of election posters supporting Hariri plastered on a Ferris wheel.

Campaign posters of Lebanese Prime Minister and candidate for parliamentary election Saad al-Hariri and his father, assassinated Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, hang off a Ferris Wheel in Beirut, Lebanon, may 3, 2018.   REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

For me, Raneen Sawafta’s picture of a boy drinking water from a pot is a beautiful,  simple image of daily life. I love the single direction of light on his face and the pot that leaves strong shadows across his body and in the background of the image. The flash of light on the water draws your eye right to the centre of the image. I get a sense of timeless joy seeing this boy drinking from his father’s traditionally made pot, maybe a skill that has been handed down from generation to generation.  

The son of Palestinian clay pot maker Jamal Fakhori drinks water at his father’s workshop in Jaba town near Jenin, in the occupied West bank may 1, 2018.   REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta

Friday, 27 April 2018

A Week in Pictures Middle East & Africa April 27, 2018

First, words of congratulation to our colleagues in Asia for their Pulitzer Prize last week. Reuters won two prizes in Feature Photography and International Reporting. Adnan Abidi, Mohammad Ponir Hossain, Hannah Mckay, Cathal McNaughton, Damir Sagolj, Danish Siddiqui and Soe Zeya Tun won the prize for their work on the coverage of the Rohingya people fleeing to Bangladesh. The pictures can be seen here.

An exhausted Rohingya refugee woman touches the shore after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal, in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, September 11, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A very simple picture by Essam Al-Sudani tells the story of violent amputation in Iraq. I am overwhelmed by the feeling of sadness, maybe created by the beautiful light that falls on the plastic hands and arms. I can’t help thinking that every prosthetic limb tells a tale of a ruined life. Strangely, the big clunky watch, which slightly detracts from the overall shape of the picture (imagine this picture without the watch) gives just a glimmer of hope through its ordinariness. Full story here.

Prosthetic limbs are seen at the Artificial Limb Centre in Basra, February 28, 2018.  REUTERS/Essam Al-Sudani 

I hope that Ali Hashisho’s picture warms you the way it does me. It would be easy to overlook this at first glance as the light is little harsh, there are the rear lights of a bus in the bottom right of the frame and really it needs just a little crop to take the bus out and some of the foreground – maybe? What I like about this picture is the timing of the centrally placed cyclist and the man walking in the opposite direction, his legs at full stride. I have done a crop for you to judge for yourself. What I also like is that ordinary commerce is coming back to Douma. A little explanation about the phrase ‘during a media tour’ in the caption, Ali was taken to Douma under the control of the government and would have been limited as to what he could and could not photograph.

A cyclist is seen through the entrance of a shoe shop during a media tour in Douma near Damascus, Syria, April 23, 2018.    REUTERS/Ali Hashisho 

Your eye just crashes into the centre of Suhaib Salem’s emotional picture of a boy weeping at a funeral. The body language of the covered women, the eye line of the woman on the right, the shadows on the wall, the hand coming in from the bottom right and the fingers cupped around the boys face all lead me to his closed eyes. To me the boy’s grief looks uncontrollable, I get the sense he just doesn’t want to open his eyes because if he does he will know the death of his family member is real and inescapable.  

Relatives of deaf Palestinian Tahreer Wahba who died of the wounds he sustained during a protest at the Israeli-Gaza border, mourn during his funeral in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza strip April 23, 2018.    REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Looking at Amr Abdallah Dalsh picture I can’t help thinking of Dick Whittington and his Cat and the promise that London’s streets are paved with gold. Turned out for young Whittington that the streets were in fact dirty and poverty stricken. Looks to me that at least on the face of it old Cairo offers more promise than 14th century London. What wonderful colours and what a great X composition in Amr’s picture. 

People sit at traditional cafes in Old Islamic Cairo, Egypt, April 21, 2018.   REUTERS/Amr Abdullah Dalsh

Steve is a hard worker and we know that because Nieri Mwangi picture shows him head down, arm muscles tensed pulling containers of water in the rain, through the busy streets, his cart clearly labelled STEVE.  You would not believe it looking at the rain and wet streets in this picture but many parts of Nairobi only have tapped water two days a week. Steve is working hard to make up the shortfall. I love the power and energy in this picture of daily life and can’t resist the fact that his Wellington boot is just an inch off the ground.

A man pulls a hard cart loaded with Jerry cans of water through the traffic in downtown Nairobi, Kenya April 19, 2018.    REUTERS/Nieri Mwangi 

A striking and thoughtful picture by Amir Cohen to illustrate the aftermath of a flash flood. A combination of quick thinking, a lucky break with lightning strikes and a well thought-out angle on the curve of the road for this time exposure work together to create this eye-catching moment. At first I did not like the chevrons and experimented with a crop but I am now of two minds. You choose.

Cars are driven as lightning strikes near a site where a group of Israeli youths were swept away by a flash flood near the Zafit river bed, south of the Dead Sea, Israel, April 26, 2018.    REUTERS/Amir Cohen 

The slightly bizarre always catches my eye so Youssef Boudlal’s picture easily finds a place in this week’s selection. I love the sense of the march of the mannequins from left to right in this strongly composed image made up of triangle after triangle, from the shapes of the building to canopies in the background and the open space on the bottom left. What I love too is the real figure who, to me, seems to be hiding in the shadows, waiting the march of the ‘undead’ headless mannequins to pass by.   

Mannequins displaying women’s clothing for sale are lined up in the street at the market in Ouled Moussa district on the outskirts of Rabat, Morocco, April 24, 2018.   REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal 

And if you think you have had a hard day at work today have a look at this powerful picture from Ibraheem Abu Mustafa, it should make you feel better.

A photojournalist runs during clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians at a protest where Palestinians demand their right to return to their homeland at the Gaza-Israeli border in the southern Gaza strip April 27, 2018.   REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Friday, 13 April 2018

A Week in Pictures Middle East and Africa April 13, 2018

A provocative image by Ibraheem Abu Mustafa works well in the visual simplicity of its composition, leaving no-one in any doubt as to these protesters’ feelings about U.S President Trump. In my mind this crop has been well paced: too tight and you lose the sense of the weight of many people, too loose and you lose the details of the tears and folds in the face. 

Palestinian demonstrators step on a representation of an Israeli flag and a poster of U.S President Donald Trump during a protest demanding the right to return to their homeland, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza strip April 13, 2018.   REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

At first look Ammar Awad’s picture is that of an idyllic scene, a perfect blue-green sea  stretches to clear blue sky, white crested waves gently roll onto a golden beach, a single person enjoys the warmth of the sunshine on what appears to be an exclusive beach. It’s only when you read the caption that the scream of a siren marking the death of millions in the Holocaust can be heard. The picture, to my mind, changes from that of peace to mourning, underlying the power of pictures with words and words with pictures. A slide show of images from the two-minute remembrance can be seen here.

A beachgoer stands still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 12, 2018.   REUTERS/Ammar Awad 

The message is very simple in Siphiwe Sibeko’s striking portrait ‘Rest in Peace mother Winnie’. In complete contrast to the image above, no caption is needed as everything is there: the strength and beauty of the face framed with the nation’s colours, the eyes looking directly at you and the bold message on her face. The nation mourns for Winnie Mandela, considered by many to be ‘the mother’ of modern South Africa. More pictures from the memorial service can be seen here.

An ANC supporter arrives at a memorial service for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg’s Soweto Township, South Africa, April 11, 2018.  REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

A sea of hands and faces crush closer to try to touch a symbolic casket in Khaild Al-Mousily’s picture. I get a strange sense of heat and energy as the casket seems to hover above the pilgrims in a surreal manner, like an out of scale and out of context object that has been cut out and dropped into a picture of hundreds of people. All lines of the hands and arms focus our attention on the centre, visually emphasizing the importance of the act of mourning. 

Shi’ite pilgrims carry a symbolic casket outside Imam Moussa al-Kadhim’s shrine to mark his death anniversary in Baghdad, Iraq, April 12, 2018.   REUTERS/Khalid Al-Mousily

A very gentle image by Reem Baeshen that has just been published on the Wider Image, the story, about a woman photographed by a woman, took a long time to pull together and can be seen in full here. What to me is special about this particular picture from the story is that I get the abstract sense that the woman on the right is freeing birds that seem to fly away from her and then circle back, as if encouraging the woman on the left to join her. I think the light bleeding in from the left to the right of the picture adds to the circular ‘compositional flow’ of the picture. Or maybe it’s just the peaceful feel that draws me in and sets off my imagination, I can’t quite decide. The whole story here

Amirah al-Turkistani, a graphic design lecturer at Jeddah University takes a selfie in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, January 15, 2018.    REUTERS/Reem Baeshen 

First, all I see in Suhaib Salem’s picture is the tranquil face of dead Yasser Murtaja, the touch of his colleague’s hand on his body and then the mourner’s face, wet with tears and contorted with grief. As I’ve said before I always look at the faces of the dead at these funerals; I want to remember. I then notice the word PRESS on the flak vest laid out on his body and it’s only then I made the connection to the second image below. I can’t shake the look in Yassers’s eye in Ibraheem Abu Mustafa’s picture as he stares straight at me out of his shadow, dying after being shot while taking pictures at the clashes, wearing his PRESS vest. It seems that I now look at the faces of dying as well as the dead.  

Colleagues of Palestinian journalist Yasser Murtaja, 31, who died of his wounds during clashes at the Israeli-Gaza border, carry his body during his funeral in Gaza City April 7, 2018.  REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Mortally wounded Palestinian journalist Yasser Murtaja is evacuated during clashes with Israeli troops at the Israeli-Gaza border, in the southern Gaza Strip Aril 6, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

In a perfect world I would like to see the figure in Afolabi Sotunde’s just slightly to the right so the man’s shoulder is just clear of the bridge in the background. But our world is far from perfect so I am very happy with the strong zigzag composition that zooms you to the furthest horizon on the top right of the picture, and the slow movement of the workers with buckets of sand on their heads that brings you back to the foreground, bottom left. The standing figure in the centre is the fulcrum around which the whole picture balances.   

Workers carry sand on the banks of the Benue River in Benue, Nigeria, April 11, 2018.   REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Feisal Omar’s picture is a brutal image of death, but I find myself asking why it’s not as disturbing as many of the images I look at. I am not shocked, saddened or disturbed, despite the fact that half the image is of a dead body – very ugly. This picture doesn’t read like that - why? Is it the fact that there are no pools of blood and gore? Or maybe because the face of the dead man cannot be seen so he has become anonymous. This is a dead attacker in military uniform, not a face that can be identified as a son, father or brother. Also, could it be because other people in the picture are casually sweeping up the debris in the street as if sweeping the steps to a function hall, seemingly oblivious of the corpse?  

Civilians walk past the dead body of a suspected unidentified attacker at the scene of an explosion at a security checkpoint in the Hodan district of Mogadishu, Somalia April 6, 2018.    REUTERS/Feisal Omar

Adding this for no other reason than Mohammed Salem's picture is just a great picture of a captured moment.

A girl hurls a stone during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest where Palestinians demand the right to return to their homeland at the Israeli-Gaza border, east of Gaza City April 13, 2018.   REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Friday, 6 April 2018

A Week in Pictures Middle East & Africa April 6, 2018

The clashes on the Gaza border have generated many striking pictures this week. It was hard to isolate just one so I have chosen three. Suhaib Salem’s picture is so sad that it’s almost painful to look at. The woman appears to be holding on to the doorway as if it’s the life of Hamdan himself, refusing to believe he is dead. The mourners behind her are pulling her gently and firmly back to the truth and the realisation that he is dead and nothing will bring him back, no matter how hard she clings to the doorway. More pictures can be seen here .

Mourners hold back a relative of Palestinian Hamdan Abu Amshah, who was killed along Israel’s border with Gaza, during his funeral in Beit Hanoun own, in the northern Gaza strip March 31, 2018,   REUTERS/Suhaib Salem 

There is no mistaking the anger in Ibraheem Abu Mustafa’s picture as Palestinians confront Israeli troops in what looks like a scene from a battle from a bygone age. The landscape, like the protesters’ clothes, is blackened by smoke from burning tyres. The burning grass of the scorched earth draws your eye to the fire, and to the raw fury in the face of the protester.

A Palestinian holds burning material during clashes with Israeli troops at the Israeli-Gaza border, in the southern Gaza strip April 3, 2018.    REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

I can’t help thinking of images showing lines of troops facing each other on an agreed field of battle in an ancient conflict when I look at Amir Cohen’s picture. The faint puff of smoke from tear gas looks like cannon fire, with the tents of the combatants ranged in background. This battle was no less fatal for some. 

Israeli soldiers shoot tear gas from the Israeli side of the Israeli-Gaza border as Palestinians protest on the Gaza side of the border, March 30, 2018.   REUTERS/Amir Cohen

It's worth an update with Mohammed Salem's picture that is now featuring in many publications and hear from Mohammed himself how this image was taken 

"I was 300 metres away from the fence. Those youths were calling to other young men, urging them to come forward in order to cross the border fence", Salem recalls. "The whole place was covered in heavy smoke rising up from the many tires that had been burnt. They cam close to each other, in excitement. In the background Israeli fired heavy tear gas, and tried to extinguish the burning tires. I knew it was a good picture, and a strong one, the moment I saw the scene." Read on here.

Palestinian protestors shout during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest demanding the right to return to their homeland, at the Israeli-Gaza border esst of Gaza City, April 6, 2018.  REUTERS/Mohammed Salem 

Sometimes a simple, posed illustrative picture serves well not only to tell a story but to give a sense of the scale of the object being photographed. This is true in Abdullah Dhiaa Al-Deen’s picture of a diorama from the conflict in Iraq. The exquisite details of the model are lifted by being set against a clean background, with the scale of the model determined by the arm and hand of the model maker. This affectionate story of a soldier recovering from trauma can be seen here.

Mini-diorama, showing model Iraqi vehicle, is held by model maker and creator Radwan Nasser Abdel Amir, a former Iraqi soldier aged 28, in Kerbala, Iraq April 1, 2018.    REUTERS/ Abdullah Dhiaa Al-Deen

A difficult crop choice for Siphiwe Sibeko for his cricket picture. Does he go for the wider shot that shows Elgar at full stretch catching the ball, although his feet are cropped out and the ball is a little lost. Or does he crop in tight so you lose the flow of the body but you quickly get to see the hands perfectly poised to catch the ball?

South Africa’s Dean Elgar catches the ball off Australia’s Tim Paine during the Fourth Test at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa April 1, 2018.   REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

At funerals and memorial services you often hear the phrase “celebration of life” used to describe what is often a sad occasion. Siphiwe Sibeko’s picture is just that, a celebration of Winnie Mandela life. I so want to hear what these women are singing. Their faces emanate beauty, strength and joy, their hands and arms moving to the rhythm of their song. I come away feeling hope after looking at this picture, so thank you, Siphiwe. More pictures here

Members of the African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) sing outside the home of late Winnie Mandela in Soweto, South Africa, April 3, 2018.    REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

I could not resist adding Ulli Michel’s wonderful iconic image of the release of Nelson Mandela as maybe this is what the singers are actually celebrating, the hard-fought freedom from apartheid. 

Nelson Mandela, accompanied by his wife Winnie, walks out of the Victor Verster prison, near Cape Town, after spending 27 years in apartheid jails, February 11, 1990.   REUTERS/Ulli Michel 

A little bit of luck for Ammar Awad changes a nicely framed picture into something a little bit special. A flash of light from a phone camera as a worshipper gazes upwards, arms open in prayer, adds an unexpected element that could never be anticipated, especially when shooting pictures in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. 

Worshippers pray in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City during the traditional Washing of the Feet ceremony April 5, 2018.   REUTERS/Ammar Awad

The conflict on the Israeli-border continues to throw up eye-catching images and none more so than this bizarre picture by Ibraheem Abu Mustafa. I can’t imagine why you’d dress up as Tweety Pie, ask your friend to dress up as a clown and then head off to clashes. What troubles me more is why you would not wear shoes. If the motivation was to draw attention to the border clashes it certainly does so, with a heady visual mix of flames, smoke, scorched earth, a masked protester beating a make-shift drum, and two people in cartoon character costumes. I am not sure what message this conveys and I suppose it’s this chaos that attracts me to this wonderfully strange picture.

Palestinians wearing costumes are seen at the clashes on the Israeli-Gaza border in the Southern Gaza strip April 5, 2018.   REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Although Mike Hutching’s picture was shot in January, it was only moved to the wire this week to illustrate the water crisis in Cape Town. I must admit I’d always rather have person in a picture but there is no escaping the brutal beauty of this image. The low sun casts warm yellow light on the stones in the foreground as well as deep shadows that emphasise the cracks in the dried out reservoir bed. Your eyes race along these cracks to the blue horizon, not a drop of water in sight. A terrifying picture of pending environmental disaster. 

Caked, dried mud is seen at Theewatersloof dam near Cape Town, South Africa, January 21, 2018.   REUTERS/Mike Hutchings