'Nzima was like a grandfather to me' – Ronald Lamola

2018-05-24 22:29
Ronald Lamola says Sam Nzima was like a grandfather to him. (Supplied)

Ronald Lamola says Sam Nzima was like a grandfather to him. (Supplied)

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WATCH: 'That Hector Pieterson picture is not the only shot Sam Nzima should be remembered for'

2018-05-18 12:44

Iconic photographer Sam Nzima has been praised by colleagues at his memorial in Parktown. Nzima was best known for his picture of Hector Pieterson during the June 16 student uprisings in Soweto in 1976. Watch.WATCH

Veteran photographer Sam Nzima has been described as a grandfather figure to the youth of Bushbuckridge, and an educator who taught them about the history of the 1976 uprising.

"Nzima was like a grandfather to me because I also come from Bushbuckridge, a few kilometres from his home village," lawyer and ANC NEC member Ronald Lamola said on Thursday during a memorial service held in the photographer's honour in Lillydale, Mpumalanga.

"He would come to our school and give us a political lecture and draw a picture of what the youth of 1976 looked or felt like.

"I got a clear picture of Nzima's role in the South African history, through watching Sarafina and gained the deepest respect for him," said Lamola.

Hundreds of people, including leaders in the ANC's women's and youth leagues, and business people, gathered to remember Nzima, who captured of the iconic image of Hector Peterson during the 1976 Soweto uprising.

Nzima died in hospital on May 12 at the age of 83.

READ: Family says his death has left them devastated

Arts minister Nathi Mthethwa told the crowd that Nzima fell into a category of people who were not celebrated in their own country.

"It is a pity that this iconic photographer was boldly celebrated overseas and not in his birth country, being South Africa, for exposing the apartheid tension that had filled our land back then," Mthethwa said.

He said post-1994, the country was able to talk about the revolution because of Nzima's iconic photograph, which was also featured by Time Magazine as one of the world's 100 most influential pictures of all time.

"In Germany there is also a school named after Hector Peterson, all influenced by Nzima's tenacious and brave journalistic efforts," added Mthethwa.

Nzima's picture captured what was happened during the apartheid era, he said.

"The Hector Peterson picture explained better what apartheid really looked like and how evil it was.

"It was saying that the youth is the cutting edge of our country and that is something to celebrate forever. For that we need to push that his dream of opening a museum in his name does come to life," said Mthethwa.

Mthethwa also described Nzima as an ambassador and a man who was full of love.

"Anyone who has come into contact with Nzima experienced his love and that he was always itching to share. And such is obviously what drove his courageous passion for the youth and for education."

His son, Thulani Nzima, said that his father had a tenacious spirit.

"My father was a fighter who fought throughout his entire life. He came from humble beginnings… He lived a legendary life that can never be erased."

Chairperson of the Sam Nzima Foundation, Dr Reuel Khoza, said an institute in Nzima's honour would be created and that it would include a museum.

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Read more on:    sam nzima  |  nathi mthethwa  |  ronald lamola

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