South African photographer of iconic protest image, Sam Nzima, dies

June 16 lensman Sam Nzima dies

Sam Nzima, the photographer who took the iconic picture of a dying Hector Pieterson in 1976, died on Saturday at the age of 83.

Sam Nzima, pictured below, died at the Rob Ferreira Hospital in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, last night.

"We understand that he was also a public figure and not just a family man, so we will be sharing information with the public as and when it becomes available", he said. Sam Nzima's iconic photograph of Hector Pieterson sent shockwaves around the world.

According to SA Histroy Online, Nzima took up photography after being fascinated by a camera belonging to his teacher at school.

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The image displayed the brutality of the apartheid government to the world.

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.

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 museum, opened in 2002 in Soweto, shows the history of the Soweto students' uprising on June 16, 1976. Pieterson's sister, Antoinette, whose grief is captured in the photo, has for many years been a guide at the museum. "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. "The seeds of global opposition that would eventually topple the racist system had been planted by a photograph".

In 2011, Nzima was awarded the bronze National Order of Ikhamanga on Freedom Day.

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