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Lawyers Address School Over Hector Pieterson Picture Parody

Lawyers for photographer Sam Nzima, who snapped one of the most famous images of the anti-apartheid struggle, will 'address Selborne College directly'.

07/12/2017 17:23 SAST | Updated 07/12/2017 17:23 SAST
Adams&Adams

Adams and Adams Attorneys, the law firm representing Sam Nzima, has confirmed that it is dealing directly with Selborne College over the iconic photo of Hector Pieterson that was parodied in a student flyer.

The picture, which captured Pieterson's sister, Antoinette Sithole, and fellow pupil Mbuyisa Makhubu as they fled the police carrying Pieterson's body on June 16, 1976, is one of the most recognised and revered images from the struggle against apartheid.

"We are addressing the manipulation of the iconic photograph taken by Mr Sam Nzima directly with Selborne College," Darren Olivier told HuffPost on Thursday.

The law firm has not mentioned exactly what the photographer would be suing for at this stage.

Over the weekend, a picture of the flyer –– which used a doctored version of Nzima's picture to publicise a school-leavers event –– surfaced on social media, causing outrage.

Read: Widespread Anger Brews Over Desecration Of Historic Hector Pieterson Photo

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The school's governing body, as well as the pupil, has apologised.

Nzima has said he was "very disturbed" by the use of his picture, and that he would "not hold back the punches" concerning the matter.

"They can't just play with the picture. I lost my life because of that picture; my heart is invested in it," Nzima said, explaining that a security police crackdown –– after the picture was published all over the world following the June 16 uprising in 1976 –– drove him out of his job at "The World" in Johannesburg, and into hiding in his hometown of Ximhungwe near Nelspruit, Mpumalanga.

Read: Hector Pieterson Photographer Wants To Sue Selborne College

With the South African security police targeting students, journalists and photographers well into 1977, he was arrested six months later and then placed under house arrest –– a restriction he had to endure until the end of apartheid in 1994.

Expressing his shock at the cavalier trivialisation of the image, he said it highlighted the ignorance of today's youth, who are not informed about the implications of apartheid.

"Our children need to be taught about apartheid in our schools. They need to know where we come from, so they can respect the freedom they enjoy today," he insisted. "People died!"