Memorial for veteran photojournalist
Nzima was “humble and kind-hearted”
Sam Nzima was described as a man who took a great picture from his socks right to the world.
This after Nzima had to hid films of the pictures he took on June 16 1976 in his socks.
Veteran journalists and photographers filled the Tiso Blackstar events hall in Parktown, Johannesburg, for Nzima’s memorial service yesterday. Also paying tribute to Nzima was well-known artist Lebani Sirenje, who drew a portrait of Nzima moments before the memorial began.
One of Nzima’s friends, Suzette Mafuna, who is in Canada, wrote a letter saying the editor of The World was initially reluctant to publish Nzima’s picture as he feared it will spark a civil war. “Sam’s excellence came at a huge cost during his time, he gambled with his life by hiding the film in his socks,” Mafuna wrote.
Professor Somadoda Fikeni said Nzima hardly ever spoke about the iconic picture of Hector Pieterson that he took on June 1976. This is the picture that was first published in Sowetan’s predecessor The World.
“It was very rare for a person celebrated by the world to be so humble... he was a war journalist who had the nerve of steel for the rest of the world to benefit,” Fikeni said.
Founding editor of Sowetan Joe Latakgomo described how kind-hearted Nzima was.
Nzima will be given a special provincial official funeral at his home in Mpumalanga next week Saturday.
Veteran photographer Peter Magubane with Mathatha Tsedu during the memorial service of Sam Nzima.