Remembering Sumy Sadurni: A photographer known for capturing essence of East Africa : The Picture Show On Monday night, photojournalist Sumy Sadurni was killed in a car accident. She is remembered for her powerful coverage of the East Africa region.

Remembering Sumy Sadurni: A photographer known for capturing essence of East Africa

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


The International Press Corps in East Africa has lost an important colleague. Sumy Sadurni was a Spanish-Mexican freelance photojournalist based in Kampala, Uganda. She stood out for her dedication to stories in Uganda and elsewhere that don't get a lot of coverage and for what she brought to the stories herself. Last night, she died in a car accident. NPR's Eyder Peralta brings us this remembrance.

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: Sumy Sadurni covered the war in South Sudan. And in Uganda, when suicide bombers attacked last year, she ran to the scene. This is a tough, chaotic region, but Sadurni's photography always felt intimate. As she explained in the video for The Coalition Of Women In Journalism, maybe it was because she was a woman.


SUMY SADURNI: We're hard. We're hard as nails, you know? And we also have this empathy. And those two things make a really touching and very personal accounts.

PERALTA: Michael O'Hagan, a journalist and friend, says Sadurni often dressed in all black.

MICHAEL O'HAGAN: But she had a luminous personality that invited people towards intimacy so that people would share their most difficult moments.

PERALTA: Some of Sadurni's photographs were iconic in the region. She photographed rebels getting ready for battle in South Sudan, Ugandans bloodied by security forces and small moments - the opposition leader hugging his children, women backstage at a beauty pageant. She caught the moment Stella Nyanzi, one of the Ugandan government's most vocal critics, lost consciousness as police dragged her out of a protest. Sadurni's friend, Michael O'Hagan, again...

O'HAGAN: People wanted her to be with them in those difficult times.

PERALTA: In Uganda, there are a lot of difficult times. It's a place where authorities smile when delivering punishment and always seem to stop just short of killing you. As journalists, we focus on that. We weigh the risks of weaving through Kampala as columns of military men ready themselves for a crackdown or the risks of getting caught in the opposition leader's house just after security forces have broken through fences. When it came to that, Sadurni was fearless. But as O'Hagan notes, what her death shows us is that life is much more fragile than that.

O'HAGAN: That's today's tragedy, that it was in the most unexpected and ordinary circumstances that she was killed.

PERALTA: Sadurni was driving to an assignment when a truck crashed into her car, according to police. She was 32-years-old. Eyder Peralta, NPR News, Cape Town.


Copyright © 2022 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.