Hazyview – Iconic South African photojournalist Sam Nzima will be honoured for his contribution to photojournalism and putting apartheid police brutality in the international spotlight.
Nzima will be honoured with the bronze National Order of Ikhamanga on Freedom Day.
The photographer, who lives in Lillydale near Hazyview, Mpumalanga, is renowned for taking the picture of slain 12-year-old Hector Pieterson. He was shot dead in the 16 June 1976 Soweto uprising against being taught exclusively in Afrikaans.
“I can’t wait to receive the honour, this will mean a lot to me and my family, I had so many awards in my life but this will be very close to my heart because it will be coming from the President of the country, Jacob Zuma,” said Nzima.
He said he knew he would one day receive recognition from the Presidency because his picture was iconic worldwide and was still in high demand.
“It has been 35 years now, but when I look at the picture, I still remember everything that happened on that day,” he said.
Zuma’s spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, said the National Orders were awarded to deserving citizens and eminent foreign nationals. The President bestows the orders and decorations with the assistance of the Director-General in the Presidency, who is the Chancellor of National Orders and an Advisory Council on National Orders.
“The National Orders…serve to foster the spirit of unity, nation building and social cohesion within our society, as they honour those outstanding individuals from all the walks of life in our society, regardless of their class, race, gender or background,” he said.
He said Cabinet and the Presidency had decided that the National Orders be awarded on Freedom Day, 27 April, as a way to commemorate the first democratic elections held in South Africa on 27 April 1994.
He said Zuma would also bestow the Order of Mendi for Bravery, Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli, the Order of Mapungubwe and the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo on Wednesday. – Siphiwe Nyathi, BuaNews