By | January 2, 2024

Title: Remembering Peter Magubane: A Fearless Photographer and Documenter of Apartheid’s Horrors, Dies at 91


Renowned South African photographer Peter Magubane, whose lens captured the brutality and anguish of the apartheid era and who was entrusted with documenting Nelson Mandela’s early years of freedom, has passed away at the age of 91. Although the exact cause of his death remains unknown, Magubane’s legacy as an iconic photographer and chronicler of South Africa’s history is etched in the hearts of many.

Biography and Legacy

Born in Vrededorp, Johannesburg, in 1932, Peter Magubane developed an unwavering passion for photography at a young age. Growing up in a racially divided society, Magubane used his camera as a tool to expose the injustices and hardships experienced by the Black community under apartheid.

Magubane’s fearlessness and dedication to his craft led him to become one of the most celebrated photojournalists of his time. His work captured the reality of apartheid, showcasing the violence, discrimination, and oppression Black people faced daily. His photographs served as a powerful catalyst for change, both within South Africa and internationally.

Magubane’s most significant assignment came when he was chosen as the official photographer to document Nelson Mandela’s first years of freedom after his release from prison in 1990. His intimate portraits of Mandela during this pivotal period became iconic symbols of hope and resilience.

Throughout his career, Magubane faced immense risks, including imprisonment and harassment by the apartheid regime. However, he remained undeterred, believing that his work could bring about awareness and ultimately contribute to dismantling the oppressive system.

Magubane’s photographs have been showcased in numerous exhibitions worldwide and have received critical acclaim. His images continue to serve as a historical record, preserving the struggles and triumphs of South Africa’s journey towards freedom and equality.

Tributes and Condolences

News of Peter Magubane’s passing has sparked an outpouring of tributes from artists, activists, and ordinary individuals whose lives he touched. Many have praised his courage, talent, and commitment to justice.

Renowned photographer and activist, Zanele Muholi, tweeted, “RIP Peter Magubane. Your lens captured the soul of our nation, exposing the reality of apartheid’s horrors. Your legacy will forever inspire future generations of photographers and activists.”

South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, expressed his condolences, stating, “Peter Magubane’s photographs were not just images but a powerful voice for the oppressed. His work played a vital role in exposing the brutality of apartheid and will forever be remembered as a testament to resilience and the fight for freedom.”


Peter Magubane’s passing marks the end of a remarkable era in South Africa’s history. His indomitable spirit, fearlessness, and unparalleled talent allowed him to document the darkest days of apartheid while capturing the hope and resilience of his people. As we remember and celebrate his legacy, let us also strive to continue the fight against injustice, inspired by the powerful images he left behind. Rest in peace, Peter Magubane; your photographs will forever be a beacon of truth and a reminder of the power of visual storytelling..


@ChrisHatt11 said RIP "Peter Magubane, a fearless photographer who captured the violence and horror of SA's apartheid era of racial oppression, and was entrusted with documenting Nelson Mandela's first years of freedom after his release from prison, has died. He was 91."…

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