South African Photographer of Iconic Protest Image Dies at 83


Nzima, 83, died Saturday night in a hospital in the northwestern city of Nelspruit, said his son, Thulani Nzima.

One of the leaders who planned and led the 1976 uprisings Seth Mazibuko says this is a big blow because two people (MamWinnie Madikizela-Mandela and Nzima) around the 1976 uprising have just passed away.

The legendary photojournalist who took the picture of a dying Hector Pieterson in the arms of Mbuyisa Makhubu during the June 16 1976 has died. Sam Nzima's iconic photograph of Hector Pieterson sent shockwaves around the world.

It was also the day Nzima set his camera aside so that he would avoid persecution by security police, who were outraged at the impact that his photograph had on world opinion.

Nzima initially regretted taking the photo due to the fact that it killed his photojournalism career. "His camera captured the full brutality of apartheid oppression on the nation's psyche and history". The government reacted with brutal force, killing hundreds of its citizens.

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In 1998 Nzima won the copyright for the much reproduced photo.

The iconic photo can now be found at the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum in South Africa.

Nzima's photo was named one of the 100 most influential photographs in history by Time Magazine in 2016. The museum, opened in 2002 in Soweto, shows the history of the Soweto students' uprising on June 16, 1976.

While white South Africa was cushioned to the reality of what was going on in the townships, black newspaper staffers such as Nzima risked their lives - both from the protesters and policemen - to expose the truth. The seeds of global opposition that would eventually topple apartheid had been planted.