Monday, June 15, 2009

Unsung Hero of Bushbuckridge & June16

“I saw a child fall down. Under a shower of bullets I rushed forward and went for the picture. It had been a peaceful march, the children were told to disperse, they started singing Nkosi Sikelele(God Help us). The police were ordered to shoot”, these are the words of a hero who never hesitated to throw himself in the shower of bullets from the boer soldiers and I sometimes wonder why even our ruling party doesn’t recognize this hero as they are celebrating their so called Soweto uprising and hounouring the late Hector Peterson but also forgetting Hastings Ndlovu, the first student to be killed by the police during the Soweto uprising

“A hero by the name of Masana Sam Nzima who was born on the 8th of August 1934 in Lillydale, a small village in Bushbuck Ridge, Sam grew up on a farm where his father worked and the family lived. While at school Sam had a teacher who had a camera and Nzima was fascinated by the concept of pictures coming out of a box, so he bought himself a Kodak Box Brownie. During the school holidays he would go to the Kruger National Park and charge people to get their photographs taken by him. On the farm there was a system where at a certain age the young boys would be set to work. When Sam was in Standard 6, now grade 8, it was decided by the farmer that he was old enough to start work. After nine months of doing manual labour he ran away to Johannesburg where he found work as a gardener at Heiningham. He continued his schooling by doing correspondence courses through various colleges. In 1956, soon after he completing his high school course he left Heiningham to work at the Savoy Hotel as a waiter. At the Savoy he met and befriended a man named Patrick Rikotso who also worked there. Patrick taught him more about photography and Sam would sell domestic workers portraits he had taken of them on their day off. When he left the Savoy he went to the Chelsea Hotel in Hillbrow and here he was switchboard operator for another eight years”
The World newspaper was banned in 1978. The Star and The Rand Daily Mail newspapers wanted Sam to join them but he was unable to do so for fear for his life. In 1979 he was appointed by Chief Minister Hudson Ntsanwisi to become a member of legislative assembly in the homeland Gazankulu
Mr Nzima we are proud of you as Bushbuckrigians