Unisa conferred an honorary doctorate on Peter Magubane in 2003.


“I had never seen so many dead people,” Peter Magubane recalled of the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960. He photographed the aftermath of the massacre for Drum magazine and would capture iconic images of many other pivotal South African moments. Raised in Sophiatown, Johannesburg, he discovered his vocation while still a schoolboy after receiving a Brownie box camera. Determined to work for Drum, he started there as a messenger in 1954. Later, as a seasoned photojournalist, Magubane endured extreme harassment by the apartheid police, including detention in solitary confinement for 586 days for covering the protests outside the trial of Winnie Mandela and others. Magubane was undeterred, and his coverage of the 1976 Soweto Uprising sparked international acclaim and public outrage. Among his many honours is the American National Professional Photographers Association Humanistic Award in recognition of instances where he “put his camera aside and intervened to save human lives”. He also served as Nelson Mandela’s official photographer in the early 1990s.