South African pho­tog­ra­pher of iconic protest im­age dies

South Florida Times - - OBITUARIES - By ANDREW MELDRUM As­so­ci­ated Press

JO­HAN­NES­BURG (AP) -Trib­utes are be­ing paid fol­low­ing the death of Sam Nz­ima, the South African pho­tog­ra­pher who took the iconic im­age of a black high school stu­dent car­ry­ing a fa­tally wounded fel­low pupil away from the gun­fire of apartheid po­lice in 1976.

Nz­ima, 83, died Satur­day night in a hos­pi­tal in the north­wester n city of Nel­spruit, said his son, Thu­lani Nz­ima. The pho­tog­ra­pher had col­lapsed two days ear­lier but did not re­cover in the hos­pi­tal, he said.

Nz­ima's pho­to­graph of the Soweto stu­dent upris­ing gal­va­nized in­ter na­tional pub­lic opin­ion against apartheid, South Africa's sys­tem of racial dis­crim­i­na­tion that ended in 1994. The com­pelling photo shows 16-year-old Mbuy­isa Makhubu car­ry­ing the crumpled body of 13-yearold Hec­tor Pi­eter­son, as Pi­eter­son's sis­ter re­acts in hor­ror.

“Sam Nz­ima was one of a kind,'' said Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, in a state­ment Sun­day. “His cam­era cap­tured the full bru­tal­ity of apartheid op­pres­sion on the na­tion's psy­che and his­tory.''

Nz­ima's photo of the dy­ing Pi­eter­son “caused the world to come to terms with the ... evil of the apartheid sys­tem,'' said South Africa's rul­ing party, the African Na­tional Congress, in a state­ment. ``This came at a price to Nz­ima who was sub­jected to count­less acts of in­tim­i­da­tion.''

Ha­rassed by the apartheid regime, Nz­ima re­signed from The World news­pa­per and left Jo­han­nes­burg for his home­town Li­ly­dale, where he was placed un­der house ar­rest for 19 months.

Nz­ima said that for many years he re­gret­ted tak­ing the photo be­cause it de­stroyed his ca­reer in jour nal­ism. But he be­came proud when he saw the last­ing in­flu­ence of his photo and its con­tri­bu­tion to end­ing apartheid, he said.

In 1998 Nz­ima won the copyright for the much re­pro­duced photo. In his later years he taught pho­tog­ra­phy to young stu­dents in ru­ral Bush­buck­ridge in Mpumalanga Prov­ince.

Nz­ima's photo is the cen­ter­piece of the Hec­tor Pi­eter­son Me­mo­rial and Mu­seum which shows his­tory of the Soweto stu­dents' upris­ing on June 16, 1976. The mu­seum was opened in Soweto in 2002 and is one of South Africa's most vis­ited sites. Pi­eter­son's sis­ter, An­toinette, whose grief is cap­tured in the photo, has for many years been a guide at the mu­seum.

In 2011 Nz­ima was awarded South Africa's Or­der of Ikhamanga, which hon­ors South Africans who ex­cel in the arts, cul­ture and jour­nal­ism.

Nz­ima's photo was named one of the 100 most in­flu­en­tial pho­to­graphs in his­tory by Time Mag­a­zine in 2016.

“Sud­denly the world could no longer ig­nore apartheid,'' wrote Time. “The seeds of in­ter na­tional op­po­si­tion that would even­tu­ally top­ple the racist sys­tem had been planted by a pho­to­graph.''

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF ENCA

PIV­OTAL PHOTO: Sam Nz­ima, the pho­tog­ra­pher who took a heart­break­ing photo of a young dy­ing South African stu­dent be­ing car­ried by a class­mate, has died.

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