Alfred Kumalo, 82, died last week, and South Africa is the poorer for it.
He was a renowned and prolific photographer who braved the sting of the apartheid system to record its ugly and evil face.
But for Kumalo, many of the evils and cruelty of apartheid would never have been chronicled, so succinctly and so bravely. The system tried to swallow him, compromise him, but he never fell for it, and gallantly soldiered on at great risk to his life.
In 1976, Kumalo covered the student riots and brought the South African government’s brutality and savagely to the attention of the international community, sparking wide-spread condemnation.
In the 1980s, Kumalo covered the State of Emergency and braved the legendary Boer brutality without relenting. He certainly earned his wings among The Struggle, and history will be kind to him. He earned it.
In a career that spanned 50 years, Alfred Kumalo made his mark and The Struggle gained momentum because one man dared record what the world needed to see in such vivid images that were to change the course of history.
Through his lens, with such amazing depth of field, Alfred Kumalo showed the world what it sought to ignore for decades.
Good photographers never die. They live on through their images. RIP, Alfred. You earned your Wings.