A memorial service has been held in South Africa for Juda Ngwenya, a former photographer for the Reuters news agency who documented some of the most pivotal moments in his country's transition from white racist rule to multi-racial democracy.

A speaker on the stage repeatedly pressed the shutter on his camera in a staccato salute to Ngwenya during the service in a Johannesburg church on Wednesday.

South Africa's deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, sent a message of tribute that was read at the event by his spokesman.

Ngwenya photographed conflict during South Africa's apartheid years as well as moments of great hope, including when Nelson Mandela voted in the first all-race elections on April 27, 1994.

Ngwenya, who also worked widely in Africa, died Oct. 19 after suffering a stroke.