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South African photographer of iconic protest image dies

Iconic image of a black high school student carrying a fatally wounded fellow student away from the gunfire of apartheid police in the Soweto student riots of 1976.

Image Credit: AP
South African photographer, Sam Nzima, poses with his iconic photo showing Hector Pieterson, a 13-year-old shot by police during the 1976 Soweto uprising, in Pretoria, South Africa.

Johannesburg - Tributes are being paid following the death of Sam Nzima, the South African photographer who took the iconic image of a black high school student carrying a fatally wounded fellow student away from the gunfire of apartheid police in the Soweto student riots of 1976.

Nzima, 83, died Saturday night in the northwestern city of Nelspruit, according to South Africa's state broadcaster, the SABC. His son, Thulani Nzima, said the photographer collapsed on Thursday and was taken to a hospital but did not recover.

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

Nzima's photo "caused the world to come to terms with the brutality and evil of the apartheid system," said South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress, in a statement. "This came at a price to Nzima who was subjected to countless acts of intimidation."

Harassed by the apartheid regime, Nzima left Johannesburg and in 1998 won the copyright for the much reproduced photo. In his later years he taught photography to young students in rural Bushbuckridge.

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