Media house hosts Sam Nzima memorial

Photojournalist Sam Nzima
Photojournalist Sam Nzima

A memorial service in honour of veteran photojournalist Sam Nzima will be held in Parktown, Johannesburg, tomorrow.

The ceremony at the Hill on Empire, on 16 Empire Road, which houses the Sowetan newsroom, will start at 12.30pm to 2pm.

Nzima took the historic picture of a dying Hector Pieterson in the arms of Mbuyisa Makhubu during the student uprisings on June 16 1976.

Nzima endured harassment by apartheid security police, who accused him of portraying South Africa in a bad light. He was forced to leave Soweto for his home village of Lilydale in Mpumalanga. The iconic picture was first published by Sowetan's predecessor - The World - before it was banned by the apartheid government.

Nzima died on Saturday at the Rob Ferreira Hospital in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. He was 83.

Veteran journalist and SABC board member Mathatha Tsedu said he remembered Nzima as a committed and brave person. He said though he went home to Bushbuckridge when the security police started harassing him, he never lost his sense of what made a good story. He had started several businesses in his village.

"He was an easy person. When I went there to do a story on Mozambique refugees, he took me to a man whose wife gave birth to twins in the [bush]. [The man] went to look for help and when he returned he found they (his family) were eaten by hyenas," Tsedu recalled.

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