To Bra Alf With Love…

Through the Eyes of Bra Alf Khumalo

Award winning South African Photo-journalist bra Alf Khumalo and I have never had coffee together.  If there’s one regret in my career as a journalist  it would be  not having had the courage to step out of my shell and introduce myself to him. No matter, Like Former President Nelson Mandela, he had a presence about him, that was calming for me in my early days a s rookie radio journalist.

an eye like no other

As radio journalists we  often got into fights with news photographers  because often our Mics would in their “picture”. But Bra Alf was never  the aggressive kind.  A calmness would always envelop me whenever I would see him at stories ( esp those with Madiba as the subject) because he always works calmly and discreetly, and has shielded me more than once from the firing line of  testosterone  charged photographers willing to kill for a great picture with Madiba. This while keeping his eye on his picture.

I will always remember his kind, sly smile,  because that’s what I used to see  when I saw  him on my “Madiba” assignments. I have always admired you from afar.

Tributes have been pouring in for this gentle Giant, who contributed to South Africa’s socio-political visual landscape for over 60 years. He never went anywhere without his Nikon* camera and was known for his determination to get specific photos. He was described as people’s person, a mentor, a giver, a father, a historian, and a huge reference for South Africa’s  history.

It is indeed  a little ironic for me to be re-naming and re-focusing my blog to be about Art, a great love of my heart I had ignored for so long  today with the  news of his passing at the weekend from Kidney failure, he was 82.

My friend and the first Black Woman recipient of the CNN African Journalism Award for Photography, Neo Ntsoma, is a living testimony of Bra Alfs’ love for people.

” He taught me all I know about the industry, about being a mother, single parent and pursuing a career as as a photojournalist.  He taught me how not to be a statistic, to stand out and be the best in my field. We’re speaking about my dad. He was like my Dad”

Bra Alf, thank you for being yourself,and for sharing your talent so generously with the world, with us, with me.

Lala Ngothando!


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