The family of renowned photographer Dr Sam Nzima, who captured the iconic photograph of Hector Peterson during the June 16, 1976 student uprisings in Soweto, has announced that they are working on building the Sam Nzima Legacy Centre in Mpumalanga which will comprise, among others, a museum and a school of journalism.
This emerged during the Inaugural Sam Nzima Memorial Lecture held in Johannesburg on Friday.
In the iconic image, the dying Peterson is carried by Mbuyisa Makhubu away from the rioting crowds with the boy’s sister Antoinette Sithole running alongside.
Novelist and cultural activist Mandla Langa remembered Nzima, who had been assigned by The World newspaper to cover the student uprising of 1976 when he captured this famous image.
“I remember the image, its impact and the fact that it lends itself to reproduction as it soon made appearances almost everywhere in various incarnations, as a poster, a banner, a t-shirt or featuring in innumerable publications, acting as a graphic shorthand that took the abstract struggle against Apartheid onto recognisable, almost visceral levels,” says Langa.
Recognition of Sam Nzima
Nzima’s family says the legendary photographer’s work continues to receive honour and recognition.
The Tshwane University of Technology posthumously bestowed him with an honorary doctoral degree last November. Now his legacy is going to be immortalised with the construction of a museum and a school of journalism in honour of his contribution to the country.
Thulani Nzima is chairperson of the Sam Nzima Foundation established in 2015.
“So what is going to happen at the Sam Nzima Legacy Centre, we are going to build an interpretive centre which will house the indigenous knowledge of the people of Mpumalanga. We as Africans are stories and knowledge of our people resides with the elders. So, we want to make sure that we harvest that knowledge and make it available through the centre. The museum will be used to tell the story of the people of Mpumalanga, not just Sam Nzima’s life. Sam Nzima comes from a journalism background so we going to build the school of journalism, media training. We are at an advanced stage,” says Nzima.
Copyright of the image
Nzima was able to gain full copyright of the photograph after not being able to do so previously and also benefited financially from those who continued to use it. However, Antoinette Sithole, Hector Peterson’s sister who is also featured in the photograph, wants to know what benefits, if any, are accrued by those in the photo.
“It is well and good that he got recognition for the image. But he should have thought about those in the photo. He never asked our permission to take the photo. He was working for a newspaper, even the same newspaper never cared for us, only cared about the profit it made out of the photo. I don’t want to say we deserve to be compensated but a right-thinking person would ask, what about the people in the photo, if they are still alive what do we do about them. You understand, that only,” says Sithole.
An Intellectual Property and Copyrights specialist says the photographer has the moral rights to be reflected when the photo they took is used and get some form of royalty from it. Darren Olivier from Adams and Adams Attorneys says the copyright on Nzima’s image has been extended.
“We have an extension of 45-years on the copyright. For 50-years from the passing of the author, you will be allowed to have protection of the copyright, that’s fantastic news.” says Olivier.
The image has now been incorporated into the logo of the Sam Nzima Foundation. .