Who Took The Photo?
Big Issue|Issue 297
On Youth Day we remember the gut-wrenching image of a dying, 12-year-old Hector Pieterson carried by Mbuyisa Makhubu
Laura Jones

Late photographer, Dr Sam Nzima, is known around the world for taking the photograph of the dying Hector Pieterson during the Soweto uprising 44 years ago on 16 June 1976. The famous image shows the tragic scene of Soweto schoolboy Mbuyisa Makhubu carrying a wounded Hector Pieterson with Hector’s sister Antoinette Sithole running beside them. From day one, the photograph became a global symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle, honoring young South Africans by bringing attention to their needs but Sam’s work hurt him deeply. He was forced to hide away due to pressure from the apartheid security police.

While copyright of the photograph was owned by the Argus Group of newspapers, Sam spent 22 years trying to get the rights to his image, eventually succeeding in 1998. Sam’s son Thulani Nzima says, “When the group sold to Independent Media, they [Argus Group] relinquished the copyright to my father. By that time the picture had been circulated enough around the world and they had made their money.”

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