Sam Nzima

Sam Nzima is an award-winning photographer from Pretoria, South Africa, who is best known for his iconic photo taken June 16 1976 during the infamous Soweto uprising.

The photo is of Hector Pieterson, a 12-year-old student who was shot during a large Soweto uprising. Nzima’s photo introduced the entire world to the political oppression of Blacks in South Africa.

When Nzima took the shocking photograph of Pietersen, he had just witnessed a shooting by police into a crowd of protesting students.

The children were protesting an order that forced Black students to be taught Afrikaana, the language of the White-minority rulers.

It was the system of apartheid, which led to the death of hundreds of students.

Nzima was on the scene from the time the students were making protest signs to the moment when Pieterson was being carried to the hospital by another male student.

Photography was banned on the scene, but Nzima had already hidden the film in his sock when police asked for his camera.

Nzima now recounts how police were so enraged by the release of his photo that he often feared for his life. He fled Johannesburg, leaving his job behind to live in a small eastern South African town. South African President Jacob Zuma will honor Nzima with the Order of Ikhamanga award for excellence in liberal arts.



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