Alfred Kumalo
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JOHANNESBURG (AP) - Alfred Kumalo, a South African photographer whose work chronicled the brutalities of apartheid and the rise of Nelson Mandela, died of renal failure in a Johannesburg hospital on Sunday night, the ruling party said Monday.

The African National Congress described Kumalo as a "rare and significant talent that was pivotal in raising social consciousness and exposing the brutality of the apartheid administration."

He was 82.

"South Africa has lost a self-taught giant in the media field who still bears the scars of torture and mental scars of continuous detentions by the apartheid security forces," the ANC said. "The (ANC) bows its head in honor of a singularly brave and daring South African who bequeathed our country and future generations historic moments captured in his camera."

Kumalo, whose work graces museum walls across South Africa, was perhaps best known for his photos of Nelson and Winnie Mandela as a young co uple. The photographer's career "mirrored the rise in Mr. Mandela's political career," said the Nelson Mandela Center of Memory. The center said Kumalo captured "many of the historic events in which (Mandela) played a key role."

The opposition Democratic Alliance similarly praised Kumalo, saying his work inspired South Africans with a message of hard work and integrity. "Mr. Kumalo was a photographer who had the courage to honestly reflect the reality of South African life," the DA said. "His photos provide a visual history of South Africa's struggle against the brutal apartheid regime and remind us of the importance of an independent media in exposing the excesses of the state."

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki said Kumalo's work made him "one of South Africa's eminent historians."

Kumalo, who started working as a photographer in 1951, first gained prominence at the renowned Drum magazine, a sophisticated publication that covered black life at a t ime when apartheid was intensifying its assault of black culture. He covered the Rivonia trial, in which Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment, and was present again in 1994 when the anti-apartheid icon was sworn in as South Africa's first black president.

Greg Marinovich, a prominent South African photographer who covered the last days of apartheid, said Kumalo's work over the years was "legendary."

"This was a guy who had done it all, from hanging out with Muhammad Ali while shooting 'Rumble in the Jungle' (before turning down an offer to be Ali's personal photographer) to capturing Oliver Tambo ringside at a boxing match and then later at his treason trial," Marinovich said in a tribute in the Daily Maverick, a local newspaper published online. "He was particularly close to Nelson Mandela. He became Mandela's de facto official photographer when Nelson was in jail, chronicling the lives of his wife Winnie and the children Madiba could not watch grow up."

Kumalo had most recently started a photography school for poor children in Soweto, the scene of some of his best work over the years. There is also a Kumalo Museum of Photography in Soweto.

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Published in New York Times on Oct. 22, 2012.
Memories & Condolences
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16 entries
November 6, 2016
Valenda Newell
November 2, 2012
October 25, 2012
My thoughts and prayers are with the family of mr deepest sympathies from me and my family.god has him another great angel
jennifer matsko
October 24, 2012
My condolence goes out to the Kumalo family and firends. May the God of comfort be with u during your time of grief-1Cor 1:3,4
October 24, 2012
Thank you for sharing your passion with us ~ God bless you, and R.I.P.
October 24, 2012
To the family our deepest condolences are offered. Please rely on
God's strength and refuge to get you thru thIs difficult time.
(John 5:28)
October 23, 2012
Im so sorry to hear of Mr. Kumalo's passing. His life's work brings to mind the desire to see the end of opression. May the family have peace during this difficult time. ~Psalm 72:11-14
October 23, 2012
Kumalo family, trust in him [God] at all times,...before him pour out your heart. God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8. I offer the family my condolence.
October 23, 2012
I am very sorry for Mr Kumalo's death.He will be missed by a lot in South Africa especially.He longed for better conditions, for righteousness.I know that those who loved him long for the same thing.I'm from Africa, and I well know that people from South Africa are great singers, with powerful voices.The time is coming where Mr Kumalo's hope will be fulfilled, and him and his loved ones will raise their voices in songs to thank God for restore the earth.Keep up your hope for righteousness, for as God said:"death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.The former things have passed away."
Eva Dawa
October 23, 2012
My condolences to the Kumalo family. God is for us a refuge and strength, a help during distresses.

October 23, 2012
To the Kumalo family:
Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time. May God provide you with peace and comfort to endure the days ahead. {Psalms 46:1}
E. A.
October 23, 2012
God Bless You.
October 22, 2012
Having lived in South Africa for a few years, I gained a greater appreciation for what apartheid meant for those that lived under it - as well as the effects that it continues to have on today's South Africa. It is sad to hear of Mr. Kumalo's passing and my deepest condolences go to his family and friends. It will be a wonderful day when all who were oppressed in the past and those currently facing oppression will live in a world where everyone will live in peace and security with their neighbors, and enjoy access to good housing. Isaiah 65:17-21
October 22, 2012
I would like to send my condolences to The Kumalo family. It is apparent by the obituary that Mr. Kumalo was very concerned about equal rights and the severe mistreatment expressed through the apartheid. Corrupt rulers and oppression are a concern of most of us the world over and Mr. Kumalo tried his best to expose that corruption through his photography. The hopeful thing is that Our Creator in the heavens knows of such mistreatment and will as Psalm 110: 5 says, "certainly break kings to pieces on the day of his anger." And his son Jesus, "will deliver the poor one crying for help, Also the afflicted one and whoever has no helper. He will feel sorry for the lowly one and the poor one, And the souls of the poor ones he will save. From oppression and from violence he will redeem their soul, And their blood will be precious in his eyes."
So such oppression and corruption will soon be a distant past. So Mr. Kumalo's dream will soon be realized!
Que Blankenship
October 22, 2012
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
October 22, 2012
The statement regarding Mr Kumalo's photos are still so very true and important " remind us of the importance of an independent media in exposing the excesses of the state." - May we hope and pray for those in jounalism to follow in his foot steps.
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