Thulani Nzima, the eldest son of legendary photographer Sam Nzima, said his father received more accolades and recognition from overseas countries than he did in South Africa for the iconic picture he shot during the 1976 Soweto uprisings.
Thulani said his father also had to wait for 17 years after capturing the image before he was recognised by the South African government for his contribution.
“The accolades and recognition Bra Sam received overseas dwarfed the ones he received in this country,” said Thulani while addressing a crowd of about 5 000 people during the memorial service yesterday of his father in Lilydale Village in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga.
“His iconic image is hanging from the headquarters building of the United Nations in New York. He waited for 22 years before he got the copyright for that picture. He was a patient man. He believed that his contribution through the image of [Hector] Pieterson was sufficient.”
Sam Nzima died on May 12 at Rob Ferreira Hospital in Mbombela after a short illness. He was 83. Nzima is best known for capturing the famous picture that depicted Mbuyisa Makhubu carrying Hector Pieterson after the latter was shot during the 1976 Soweto uprisings.
Thulani described his father as a hard-working member of the African National Congress (ANC) who took part in many civic activities with other members of the party in his Bushbuckridge area. He said his death came as a surprise to the family.
“I never thought I would get to grips with pronouncing my father as the late Sam Nzima. I spent about one hour with him in hospital [on May 11] where he dribbled me into believing that he was okay. Bra Sam died because his time has come.”
Addressing the same gathering later yesterday, arts and culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa admitted that Nzima fell in the category of people who did not get the recognition they deserved in this country.
Nzima would be laid to rest in Lilydale Village on Saturday through a special provincial official funeral category 2.
– African News Agency (ANA)