June 20, 2024

Veteran photographer honoured for his June 16 coverage

Veteran photographer Len Khumalo honoured
Photos: Supplied

Internationally acclaimed photographer Len Khumalo was honoured for his work on June 16, 1976. Khumalo was honoured by the Siphiwe Msimango Foundation at Diepkloof Hall on Monday at a Father's Day event.


Khumalo, one of the photographers who took photos on the day, shared a story of how he became involved in the historic moment. On the morning of June 16, schools from different parts of Soweto assembled on school grounds before beginning their march to Orlando Stadium where were going to protest against Afrikaans as a medium of instruction. There was a standoff with the police who opened fire." When Sam Nzima took that world-renowned photo of Hector being carried by a fellow scholar and his sister, Khumalo was not part of the action.


He told people gathered at Diepkloof Hall on Monday, "I arrived late to take photos of the June 16 uprising. When I arrived, school children took me with them and asked that I throw a stone at the municipal building, and they burned the building which was guarded by police called Blackjacks," he said. "We then moved to another place, and the students told me to throw a stone first at a bottle store. After that, they took liquor inside and burned it. The rest is history." he shared. The legendary lensman managed to take photos after he was released by the students during the violent protests. Some of the photos he had documented with the late photographer, Bongani Mnguni, became part of an exhibition that was shown at the Market Theatre and Sharpeville.


Msimango, who is a philanthropist, also honoured respected boxing coach, Norman Hlabane, at the same event. Hlabane was responsible for shaping the boxing career of the late Dingaan "The Rose of Soweto" Thobela to become a world champion.Other honourees included former boxing champion, Jan Bergman, record company executive, Mandla Baloyi, who has worked and travelled worldwide with the likes of Letta Mbulu and, Caiphus Semenya, the late Hugh Masekela and Abigail Kubheka amongst others. 

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