He died on 12 May 2018 at the age of 83.


Words of condolences continue to pour in following the death of legendary photographer Sam Nzima on Saturday morning.

Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni visited the Nzima family in Bushbuckridge on Monday morning to convey her condolences of behalf of the Mpumalanga government.

Famous for shooting the photo of Mbuyisa Makhubo carrying a dying 12-year-old Hector Pieterson shot by Apartheid cops during the 1976 Soweto student uprising‚ the photojournalist died at the Rob Ferreira hospital in Mbombela on the evening of 12 May 2018.

Parliament said Nzima belonged to a generation of photographers who used the power of the camera lens to make an immense contribution to the struggle against that Apartheid.

“We are saddened by Nzima’s passing and our thoughts are with Nzima’s family and friends at this time of loss and grieving,” parliament said in a statement.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the iconic photo will always be remembered as a symbol of resistance against Apartheid.

“Mr Sam Nzima was one of a kind. His camera captured the full brutality of apartheid oppression on the nation’s psyche and history – from the Defiance Campaign through to forced removals and the Soweto student uprisings,” Ramaphosa said in a statement issued by the Presidency.

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“We will especially remember his iconic photograph of a dying young Hector Pieterson which became a symbol of resistance against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in the black schools,” the president said.

The ANC described Nzima as someone who belonged to a generation of “fearless photojournalists” who used the power of lens to tell the truth.

“His generation courageously confronted the apartheid system and regime by ensuring that the stories of the oppressed masses who yearned for freedom in their lifetime are not relegated to the periphery of history,” spokesman Pule Mabe said.

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SANCO said the shooting of the Peterson photo put the Apartheid regime “firmly” on the spotlight.

“At great risk to his personal safety, he showcased the evolution of the struggle for liberation,” spokesman Jabu Mahlangu.

“It depicts his courage and the passion with which he used his skill to advance the course of the struggle for liberation and democracy,” said Mahlangu.

The Congress of the People described him as a “potent weapon” that captured historic moments [which] could never be hidden, distorted or denied by the Apartheid regime.

“The tragic demise of this colossal tower in the liberation struggle and the preservation of its collective history is indeed a great loss to the entire nation,” national chairman Pakes Dikgetsi said in a statement.

(edited by MLM)

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