Sam Nzima made a difference

Wednesday, 16 May, 2018

His photograph of a dying Hector Pieterson being carried away by a teary fellow student after security forces opened fire on black youngsters protesting in Soweto township on June 16, 1976, turned the world's attention to the brutality of the apartheid regime. When he saw his schoolteacher, Ben Mhlongo, with a Kodak box camera taking photographs, Sam's inspiration was sacked up and he knew he had to emulate his mentor.

Nzima's photograph was listed by the Time magazine as one of 100 most influential images of all time.

Nzima's photograph of the Soweto student uprising galvanized global public opinion against apartheid, South Africa's system of racial discrimination that ended in 1994.

Nzima was working for the World Newspaper when he took the famous photograph. He was eventually placed under house arrest for 19 months for taking photos of the uprising.

Sam Nzima died at the age 83 in hospital Saturday in the country's Mpumalanga province, the presidency said Sunday.

Nzima said that for many years he regretted taking the photo because it destroyed his career in journalism.

For years, Nzima struggled for the copyright of the image due to the fact that the institution that he worked for at the time believed that they owned the rights to the photo.

The iconic photo can now be found at the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum in South Africa.

With a single shot, Nzima captured the full brutality of apartheid in 1976.

Nzima was honoured with the Order of Ikhamanga in Bronze in 2011. "The seeds of global opposition that would eventually topple the racist system had been planted by a photograph".