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President Cyril Ramaphosa, among others, paid tribute to veteran photographer and activist Peter Magubane, who died at the age of 91 on New Year's Day.

Ramaphosa issued a statement on Tuesday to express "great sadness" after learning about Magubane's death and praised him for creating iconic visual records of South Africa's struggle for freedom.

"On behalf of the government and the nation, I offer my deep condolences to the Magubane family, our veteran's friends and his countless associates around the country and globally," the president said, SA News reported.

"He documented our nation and the early years of freedom of President Nelson Mandela with a prosaic passion that was powered as much by what he felt from the heart as what he saw through his lens," he added.

Ramaphosa noted that Magubane, who was born on Jan. 18, 1932, left the world at the start of 2024, which marked 30 years of freedom in South Africa.

In 1954, inspired by an article in Drum magazine about apartheid, Magubane joined the magazine as a driver. After six months, he transitioned to photography under the mentorship of Jürgen Schadeberg. Magubane's photographs captured key moments in South African history, including the 1960 Sharpeville massacre and Nelson Mandela's 1964 trial. Post-Mandela's release from prison, Magubane served as his official photographer from 1990 until Mandela's presidency.

South Africa gained independence in 1994 after the apartheid system ended in the late 20th century and Nelson Mandela became the first black president in the same year. Before the implementation of the apartheid system, South Africa was under Dutch colonization from 1652 to 1795.

"As we revisit our journey to freedom and the progression of our democratic dispensation, Peter Magubane's imagery will be an important part of our reflections," Ramaphosa noted. "May his soul rest in peace."

Aside from the president, other government officials also described Magubane's passing as a heart-wrenching loss.

Morakane Mosupyoe, the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation for the Gauteng province, also lauded the contributions of Magubane and said his photography became a vital tool in documenting the realities of apartheid and the struggles of black South Africans.

"His courage, perseverance, and unwavering commitment to his craft serve as an inspiration to generations of storytellers and activists. During this time of mourning, may the memories you shared with Peter bring you comfort and solace," Mosupyoe added.

Zizi Kodwa, the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, took to social media to share a photo of the late photographer and wrote, "South Africa has lost a freedom fighter, a masterful storyteller and lensman."

He added that Magubane "fearlessly documented apartheid's injustices," adding that his "thoughts and prayers are with Dr Magubane's family."