There is a video making the rounds of a man rescuing a child, who was trapped on a pipe that crosses a flooded river in Joburg last week.
There are dozens of people standing on the nearby bridge that overlooks the scene.
You can hear people around the cameraman whistling, ululating and shouting encouragement.
Then as the man reaches safety with the child, you see people coming into the shot, almost all of them are busy recording the scene with cellphones in hand.
The situation is clearly dangerous and at one point, the man is having to manoeuvre himself and the childcare so they don’t fall.
If either of them had slipped, they would land in the raging waters, be swept away and almost certainly die.
Luckily the man and the child make it to the other side safely.
And only then do a few people with cellphones offer help.
There were at least two previous occasions during the rescue where the man could’ve used a hand. But those hands were all busy recording the moment.
There are regularly videos of people being harmed, where intervening could’ve made a difference.
But instead, we have a video of the incident, whereas the incident could’ve been avoided altogether.
There is an old journalism dilemma, which requires you to put yourself in the shoes of a cameraman faced with a child who is about to die of thirst.
The question you need to answer is whether you race to the child’s rescue and save his life, or take the picture that exposes the crisis to the world.
Take the picture and the child dies, but you save thousands of other children facing the same fate.
It is your duty to expose the crisis, but it is also your moral obligation to save the child.
So do both, if you can. These days it’s so much easier because it’s almost guaranteed that other people are also taking pictures.
So put your phone down and go help, for heaven’s sake!