The Sudanese young revolutionist, secondary school student Mohamed Youssif, was like many across the country who were angry at the 3 June massacre at the army headquarters in Khartoum. But he was also determined to continue pushing for a civilian–led government in Sudan after the ouster of former president Omer al-Bashir.
Two weeks after the military attack on the sit-in, Youssif attended a public symposium in his neighbourhood in South Khartoum where nationwide protest leaders were speaking, including from the Sudan Professional Association, Mohamed Nagi.
But getting to the symposium posed a challenge after the 3 June attack, anti-military protests were targeted. Beatings, harassments –including shaving off hair and even killings of protestors– were all possible following the massacre at the headquarters. The chances security forces would violently break up the symposium was also possible.
But Youssif was determined to get there and was determined to encourage others to do the same. This is where the award-winning photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba for Agence France Presse took place – a photo of Yousif chanting a revolutionary song, urging his colleagues to attend the symposium despite the dangers.
The photo of him surrounded by protesters and chanting a revolutionary song went viral across the globe and won the 2020 World Press Photo contest out of 73,000+ photos submitted by over 4,000 photographers from across the world. Japanese photographer Yasuyoshi Chiba took the photo on 19 June in the Jebrah neighborhood, Khartoum where the symposium took place.
The attack by security forces that resulted in over 100 deaths in one day and caused anger and anguish in Sudan triggered nationwide civil disobedience and protess across the country.
Youssif told Ayin that he” feels proud” the photo won the 2020 World Press Photo Award. He remembers the day and moment the photo was taken, they were preparing for the symposium as part of the Jabrah neighbourhood resistance committee.
“At 7:30 pm the power went off and I noted people started gettining nervous and scared,” he said. “At that time people had reasons to fear as rapid support forces were ready to break symposiums at any time.” Youssif started mobilising around ten of his friends and then, “started singing, [my friends] started clapping and then a lot of people gathered around us with excitement, some even shed tears during the chants.”
The symposium managed to take place as planned without interference, Youssif recalled. Youssif, who is completing his last year of secondary school, participated in many rallies including the headquarters sit-in where he remained until its end.
It has been a year since Al-Bashir’s ouster and Youssif believes the situation in the country is “not reassuring” since the “people in power in this country caused the breaking of the sit-in. Youssif is still calling for justice, “those who committed crimes against the people should be held accountable.”