Peter Magubane: President Cyril Ramaphosa pays tribute to anti-apartheid photographer

Tributes continue to pour in for anti-apartheid photographer Peter Magubane. File Picture: Gcina Ndwalane / Independent Newspapers

Tributes continue to pour in for anti-apartheid photographer Peter Magubane. File Picture: Gcina Ndwalane / Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 2, 2024


President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to veteran and anti-apartheid photographer Peter Magubane. Magubane passed away at his home on Monday afternoon, days before his 92nd birthday.

He was born on January 18, 1932. Various prominent leaders, politicians, and close friends have also paid tribute to the renowned photographer.

In a statement posted on X, formally known as Twitter, Ramaphosa conveyed his condolences to the Magubane family, the veteran’s friends, and his countless associates around the country and globally.

Ramaphosa described him as a veteran photographer who created the iconic visual records of South Africa’s Struggle for freedom across the country.

“He documented our nation and the early years of freedom of Nelson Mandela with a prosaic passion that was powered as much by what he felt from the heart as what he saw through his lens,” he said.

He added that Magubane’s imagery will be an important part of their reflections as they revisit the journey to freedom and the progression of SA’s democratic dispensation.

The African National Congress (ANC) has also expressed its condolences to the Magubane family for their loss.

Their spokesperson, Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri said Magubane’s photographic legacy is etched in the collective memory of South Africans.

“As a renowned veteran photojournalist and passionate anti-apartheid activist, Dr. Magubane's lens captured and documented the raw emotions, stories, and pivotal moments that defined our nation's history,” she said.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) described Magubane as a legend who not only captured, but also exposed the brutal realities of apartheid and ignited a global fight for justice.

“Magubane fearlessly documented the horrors of racial segregation; his images, raw and powerful, exposed the everyday brutalities of the system — from the indignity of the ‘Europeans Only’ signs to the stoic defiance of protesters facing tear gas and batons,” it said.

The EFF highlighted that his “June 16” photo series, documenting the Soweto Uprising, was internationally acclaimed and remained a testament to the courage of the youth in the face of brutal oppression.

“We pledge to carry forward the torch he ignited and to fight for the complete dismantling of the apartheid legacy and the building of a truly just and equal society,” it said.

Arts and Culture Minister Zizi Kodwa has also expressed his sadness over the death of Magubane, mentioning that he played a role in fighting for freedom.