June 16 lensman Sam Nzima dies

Sam Nzima
Image: LEN KUMALO

The legendary photojournalist who took the picture of a dying Hector Pieterson in the arms of Mbuyisa Makhubu during the June 16 1976 has died.

Sam Nzima, pictured below, died at the Rob Ferreira Hospital in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, last night. He was 83. His daughter Bongi Nzima confirmed the news to Sunday World last night.

"He was admitted to the hospital on Thursday and we got the bad news today," she said last night.

Bongi, evidently distraught at the time of the telephonic interview, said the family was still devastated by the news even though her father had not been well in recent weeks. She said he had been in and out of hospital with a number of ailments as a result of his old age.

Nzima was born and bred in Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga and had also retired at his ancestral home after his illustrious career that spanned four decades.

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

After completing school, he worked at a local hotel as a waiter, and later as a switchboard operator at a Joburg hotel. He approached The World and started freelancing for them before he took the iconic photo of the Soweto student uprisings in 1976.

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