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The Boston Globe

Obituaries

Alfred Kumalo, photographer who depicted apartheid

ALFRED KUMALO

Themba Hadebe/Associated Press

ALFRED KUMALO

JOHANNESBURG — 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 late Sunday, the ruling party said Monday. He was 82.

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

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

Mr. 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 time when apartheid was intensifying its assault on black culture. He covered the Rivonia trial, in which Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment, and was present again in 1994 when the antiapartheid icon was sworn in as South Africa’s first black president.

Mr. 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.

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