Ramaphosa and ANC hail Nzima

Veteran South African photographers Alf Kumalo and Sam Nzima, both photographers of the Sowteto Uprisings of 1976, celebrate Youth Day in 2005. (Photo: Gallo Images)
Veteran South African photographers Alf Kumalo and Sam Nzima, both photographers of the Sowteto Uprisings of 1976, celebrate Youth Day in 2005. (Photo: Gallo Images)

President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC on Sunday hailed the achievements of veteran photographer Sam Nzima, who died over the weekend.

"Mr Sam Nzima was one of a kind. His camera captured the full brutality of apartheid oppression on the nation's psyche and history - from the Defiance Campaign through to forced removals and the Soweto student uprisings," Ramaphosa said in a statement issued by the Presidency.

"We will especially remember his iconic photograph of a dying young Hector Pieterson which became a symbol of resistance against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in the black schools."

Nzima, 83, died in a Nelspruit hospital on Saturday evening.

The ANC said that the photograph of Pieterson "became a historical landmark feature that forever defined how the June 16, 1976 narrative was told".

Nzima was celebrated as being part of "a generation of fearless activist photojournalists who used the might of their lenses to tell truth to power," party spokesperson Pule Mabe said in a statement.

"His generation courageously confronted the apartheid system and regime by ensuring that the stories of the oppressed masses who yearned for freedom in their lifetime are not relegated to the periphery of history."

Both the president and the ANC noted the awarding of the Order of Ikhamanga in Bronze in 2011 to Nzima for his contribution to photojournalism in South Africa.

The ANC also noted how Nzima had been placed on Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential photographs ever taken.

Ramaphosa and the ANC extended condolences to Nzima's family and close associates.

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