Read about Sumy Sadurni, the ‘deeply emotional and committed’ photojournalist and her passion for the people and stories of Africa

Photo: Sumaya Sadurni: ‘A strong journalist, always humorous, never fearing the powerful’ © Chris Dennis Rosenberg (cropped)

22 March 2022 | James Porteous | Clipper Media News

Ms. Sarduni in 2021. The subjects of her photographs, a friend said, “have power; they have dignity; they have autonomy.”Credit…Chris Dennis Rosenberg

Sumy Sadurni, Photojournalist Whose Focus Was East Africa, Dies at 32

She traveled the world, but she was best known for the photographs she took in Uganda, which brought pathos and humanity to charged subject matter.

21 March 2022 |  Annabelle Williams | New York Times

Sumy Sadurni, also know as Sumaya Sadurni, was a prolific photojournalist who documented human rights struggles, political resistance and gender issues in East Africa through a piercing and intimate lens, died on 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 she was best known for her work in her adopted country, Uganda. Her photographs for Agence France-Presse appeared in some of the world’s leading newspapers, including The New York Times.

She reported on the fractious 2021 presidential election in Uganda, focusing on Bobi Wine, the opposition leader who challenged the country’s longtime president, Yoweri Museveni.

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

“It was classic Sumy,” Mr. O’Hagan said, “because she was mixing not just the headline political story about a Uganda opposition leader who was under great threat, but also coming at things from a different angle, examining Barbie’s perspective and her as an individual.”

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Sumaya Sadurni: photojournalist and ‘rock’n’roll Mother Teresa’ dies at 32

Sumy Sadurni was described as ‘creative, cool, considerate, compassionate, classy and collaborative’ by Ugandan activist Stella Nyanzi. Photograph: Michael O’Hagan

18 March 2022 | Grainne Isobel Harrington | The Guardian

Described as ‘outstanding and fearless’ by Bobi Wine, tributes have been paid to Sadurni, whose work featured in the Guardian and New York Times

Sumaya Sadurni Carrasco has died while travelling to take photographs for the Guardian’s Saturday magazine in northern Uganda. Thomas Mugisha, an NGO worker, also died in the accident on 7 March.

Sumy, as she was known, was a talented, driven and courageous photojournalist with a rare gift for friendship.

Sadurni’s striking image of a guest at Kampala fashion week in Uganda, September 2019. Photograph: Sumy Sadurni/AFP/Getty Images

At just 32 years old, she had built a powerful body of work, which had been published in some of the world’s best-known publications; in 2020 she was shortlisted for the Guardian’s agency photographer of the year.

She also leaves a legacy of knowledge and inspiration that she passed on to young photographers as a Uganda Press Photo award mentor, a teacher at Makerere University and a Canon trainer.

Mexican and Spanish by heritage, Sadurni grew up in Mexico and Switzerland, and later moved to the UK for university. She first came to Uganda in 2016 to visit a close childhood friend for two weeks. She stayed for three months, returned to the UK and bought a one-way ticket back to Uganda, starting from scratch as a freelance photographer.

She began working for AFP news agency in 2017, first in Uganda and later across the region, entering South Sudan’s war zone with armed rebels, and photographing female surgeons in Somaliland.

Sadurni’s shot of voters watching Ugandan electoral commission officials count ballot papers at a polling station in Kampala, January 2021. Photograph: Sumy Sadurni/AFP/Getty Images

In Uganda, Sadurni’s powerful news coverage included the country’s turbulent 2021 elections, when she braved tremendous violence to follow opposition candidate Bobi Wine’s election campaign. In a tribute to her, Wine said: “She was outstanding and fearless. She was very friendly with all, with the lowest and not just the leaders. This was not just a job for her, it was a calling.”

As a female freelancer, her calling was not easy. She had to fight hard to make a place for herself, and she succeeded brilliantly. Sadurni was as much a member of the Ugandan press pack as the international one.

When she and a colleague were pepper-sprayed in the face during the election, she leapt off the motorbike she was on, gave him her only bottle of water and stayed by his side to make sure he was OK. Then, in characteristic fashion, she yelled at the police officer for his unwarranted attack.

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International Women’s Day – Sumy Sadurni

FWIJ brings you some powerful messages on Women’s Day from our network. Learn more about how these women journalists are overcoming obstacles in the industry and share their inspiration. Here’s a shoutout to all women journalists who inspire us every day.


Sumy Sadurni Website


Sumaya Sadurni, photographer, 1989-2022

Children walk in front of a peace mural while in South Sudan © Sumy Sadurni/FT

12 March 2022 | Andres Schipani  | Financial Times Sumaya Sadurni, who has died aged 32 in a car crash in northwestern Uganda, was a talented freelance photographer whose work was published in the world’s most renowned publications, including the Financial Times. Read More


Photo: Sumaya Sadurni: ‘A strong journalist, always humorous, never fearing the powerful’ © Chris Dennis Rosenberg