Dur­ban pho­tog­ra­pher suc­cumbs to can­cer bat­tle

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TRIB­UTES have been stream­ing in af­ter the death of Dur­ban pho­tog­ra­pher Peter McKen­zie who died yes­ter­day af­ter a bat­tle with can­cer.

Fel­low pho­tog­ra­pher Ra­jesh Jan­ti­lal said that McKen­zie was a great men­tor who helped many young black jour­nal­ists in his time.

“It is a great loss for us. I am just in dis­be­lief about news of Peter’s death.

“We chat­ted just a few weeks ago about an ex­hi­bi­tion he was work­ing on.

“He men­tioned that he was not well, but we made plans to meet soon for an up­com­ing fes­ti­val,” Jan­ti­lal said.

He added that McKen­zie made his mark wher­ever he went and touched many lives.

“It is strange how we as pho­tog­ra­phers do not take many pho­to­graphs of other pho­tog­ra­phers, but I re­mem­ber re­cently cap­tur­ing a photo- graph of Peter with friends. They were laugh­ing at a joke. He will be dearly missed by those who knew him,” Jan­ti­lal said.

Niren Tolsi, a jour­nal­ist, de­scribed McKen­zie as a dear friend, an el­der and a men­tor.


“He was a sound­ing board, a col­lab­o­ra­tor, a drink­ing part­ner and a co-con­spir­a­tor on projects and ideas. Peter loved mu­sic, jazz espe­cially.

“He was some­one who smiled with all his heart, and a brother who made pho­to­graphs with the depth of his in­tel­lect,” said Tolsi, ad­ding that McKen­zie had a sense of jus­tice and a cu­rios­ity for the present.

Tolsi col­lab­o­rated with McKen­zie on The Con-Struc­tion car­tel ex­hi­bi­tion, which in­ves­ti­gated the ef­fects of pol­lu­tion and cor­po­rate col­lu­sion on com­mu­ni­ties in Dur­ban’s South Basin, in ar­eas such as Went­worth and Mere­bank.

Com­ment­ing on McKen­zie’s work, Tolsi said he was al­ways driven by his cu­rios­ity to peel away the lay­ers of life and the liv­ing pol­i­tics to re­veal these with all their nu­ances.

“His lens, dur­ing apartheid and all the way through to a demo­cratic South Africa, was al­ways trained on so­cio-po­lit­i­cal in­jus­tice, whether hu­man­is­ing the gang­sters he grew up with in the ex­hi­bi­tion Vy­ing Posie, or his work in 80s South Africa dur­ing the state of emer­gency,” he said.

McKen­zie was born in Dur­ban and stud­ied pho­tog­ra­phy at the Dur­ban Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy (for­merly known as Tech­nikon Na­tal). He co-founded the pho­tog­ra­phy col­lec­tive agency Afrapix and was the chief pho­tog­ra­pher at Drum Mag­a­zine be­fore he went into free­lanc­ing.

McKen­zie, who is sur­vived by a son, ex­hib­ited a num­ber of his per­sonal pho­tog­ra­phy projects.

Trib­utes are pour­ing in for Dur­ban pho­tog­ra­pher Peter McKen­zie, who died yes­ter­day.

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