Deputy President David Mabuza paid tribute to legendary photographer, Sam Nzima for his role in the struggle against Apartheid during his burial in his home village of Lillydale, Mpumalanga.
Mabuza said Nzima was a giant photographer who through the lenses of his camera, told the story of the struggle for liberation.
“The news of his passing brought sadness and sorrow not only to the people of South Africa but to the entire world that came to know uBab’Nzima through his photojournalism work.
“At the height of repressive laws and political violence meted by the apartheid regime on the black majority of our country, the myth and facade of a normal state was instantly broken,” he said.
Mabuza said the façade had been shattered through an incident frozen in eternity by Nzima‘s camera.
“On 16 June 1976, the extent of inhumanness and brutality of apartheid was laid bare, with the photo that immortalised an 18-year-old Mbuyisa Makhubu carrying a lifeless body of a young Hector Pieterson,” he said.
“To this day, that iconic photo remains a reminder of our history. It became the emotive and historical landmark feature that forever defined how the June 16, 1976 narrative was told.”
Crime against humanity
Mabuza said it was because of this photo that the world had taken notice of the brutal killings of innocent people in South Africa.
He said Pieterson‘s death had been a defining moment in South Africa‘s history that sparked an international outcry and mobilised young people into swelling the ranks of the national liberation movement in exile.
“Even those who had stood on the side of the regime as its allies, began to acknowledge that indeed the philosophical basis of apartheid was wrong, evil and a crime against humanity,” he said.
“That frozen moment in picture by Nzima changed the course of history,” he said.
Mabuza said Nzima had refused to allow circumstances to stand in his way and had become a photojournalist against all odds.
“Photography remained his passion and he concentrated more in this area of work that would make us know him and his work,” he said.
“We celebrate the fact that among awards Nzima won, our country honoured him with the prestigious Order of Ikhamanga in Bronze,” he said.