Sumy Sadurni, photojournalist specializing in East Africa, dies at the age of 32

Sumy Sadurni, a prolific photojournalist who has documented human rights struggles, political resistance and gender issues in East Africa through a penetrating and intimate lens, died March 7 in Kampala, Uganda. she was 32

Her brother, Jorge Sadurni Carrasco, said she died in a car accident.

Ms Sadurni, a freelancer, traveled the world but was best known for her work in her adopted home of Uganda. Her photographs for Agence France-Presse have appeared in some of the world’s leading newspapers, including the New York Times.

Covering Uganda’s conflicting 2021 presidential election, she focused on Bobi Wine, the opposition leader who challenged the country’s longtime president, Yoweri Museveni.

On the morning of the vote count, her colleague from Agence France-Presse, Michael O’Hagan, said in an interview that he and Ms. Sadurni were at home with Mr. Wine. She photographed before the election results were announced, but rather than just focusing on him, she also photographed his wife, Barbie Kyagulanyi, an activist and political figure in her own right.

“It was classic Sumy,” Mr O’Hagan said, “because it not only mixed up the political headline about an opposition leader in Uganda facing a major threat, but also looked at things from a different angle by Examined Barbie’s perspective and her as an individual.”

The election was a violent and contentious experience: Mr Wine and his supporters were beaten, arrested and tear-gassed, The Times reported, as Mr Museveni pressed to stay in the role he held for 35 years. External observers condemned the election as unfair after a major internet blackout shortly before the votes were counted.

Ms Sadurni’s photographs take an unwavering look at this social unrest, and she often found herself in the midst of violent marches and protests. in one reminder Mr Wine, who lost the election, wrote on Twitter that she never gave up on her work, even in the face of adversity.

Ms Sadurni started working as a freelancer for Agence France-Presse in January 2018, the organization said. She was a member of the International Press Association of Uganda, formerly known as the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Uganda.

Many of Ms. Sadurni’s themes and viewers particularly related to her work have focused on the issue of gender. A major project of hers has been photographing survivors of acid attacks in Uganda, often used by men against their wives or girlfriends, as they formed a support group and campaigned for a law that would increase penalties for such acts.

Sally Hayden, a friend of Ms Sadurni’s who reports on Africa for The Irish Times, said in an interview that Ms Sadurni’s work was characterized by her determination to uphold the autonomy and dignity of her subjects.

She covered issues few journalists would address, Ms Hayden said, citing as an example her series of portraits of sex workers in Uganda, which they organized after they were denied government aid during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Sadurni’s work is rare, Ms Hayden added, because she shies away from “a stereotypical image of tragedy” when portraying Africa. “The people in her photos,” she said, “have power; they have dignity; You have autonomy. Often they smile.”

Ms Sadurni also portrayed Ugandan feminist activist and author Stella Nyanzi, who wrote in a Facebook post that the two had become close friends.

“Where several expatriates working and living in Uganda put their expertise at the service of the privileged abusers of oppressive power,” Ms Nyanzi wrote, “Sumy passionately put her skills at the service of the misfits.”

Sumaya Maria Sadurni Carrasco was born on August 30, 1989 in Santiago, Chile to Jorge Jose Sadurni Jammal and Maria Del Carmen DeCet Carrasco. She grew up in Chile and later lived in Mexico and Switzerland. She attended high school at the International School of Lausanne and then studied journalism at the University of the Arts London. She then earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Westminster. Her dissertation dealt with human rights reporting in Chile.

Ms Sadurni moved to Uganda, Mr O’Hagan said, after visiting a childhood friend there and falling in love with the country.

She is survived by her parents and brother.

In addition to being a recognized photographer, Ms. Sadurni was also a Canon Certified Photo Instructor, mentoring young photojournalists in Uganda. After her death, she was remembered by many as a mentor.

Liam Taylor, a journalist who serves as co-chair of the International Press Association of Uganda, said in a statement: “We admired your images. We were moved by them. But if you want to find her legacy, look for it in the young photographers she mentored and inspired. They’re still out there taking the pictures she can’t take anymore.” Sumy Sadurni, photojournalist specializing in East Africa, dies at the age of 32

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