Sawa was born in Poland and was taken to a German labour camp in 1943 and lived there with his mother and grandmother until the end of the Second World War in 1945. Both Sawa's paternal and maternal grandfathers were Roman Catholics and perished in Auschwitz concentration camp.
Sawa obtained an engineering degree in Poland but later began freelancing for newspapers and shot stills for the local television broadcaster before joining the broadcaster as a cameraman, although in his heart he remained a photographer.
He later took on a two-year freelance photographer position at the Johannesburg Sunday Times covering sports events. At the end of the tenure, he was given a full-time position at the newspaper. From the early-mid 1970s he was assigned to the Sunday Times Colour Magazine but was moved to the main newspaper when the magazine was closed. He continued photographing features for the newspaper, covering the Miss South Africa beauty pageant between 1974 and 1983. Between 1981 and 1992 he published photographs for the relaunched Sunday Times Colour Magazine.
Between the late 1970s and the late 1980s he worked alongside the newspaper's most popular columnist Jani Allan. As the paper's chief photographer, he photographed her celebrity interviewees such as Sol Kerzner, Vladimir Tretchikoff, Taubie Kushlick and Pieter-Dirk Uys. His photographs were later compiled in Face Value, a book of interview columns Allan published.
He also worked with Allan and other journalists on assignments for the newspaper with international celebrity figures such as Roman Polanski, Frank Sinatra, Oliver Reed, Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Sean Connery, Sarah Ferguson, Ernest Borgnine, Telly Savalas, Gina Lollobrigida, The Village People, The Beach Boys, Charlize Theron and Sir Ben Kingsley.
Outside of the magazine, he shot two LP covers for the band Queen. Queen's lead singer Freddie Mercury had seen Sawa's work when in South Africa and called him to ask him to collaborate on the covers.
Sawa also worked for Flying Springbok, the inflight magazine of South Africa's national airline, South African Airways, from 1987-2007, specialising in travel and wildlife photography. During this time he visited 70 countries.
He published his first solo photography book Children of South Africa in 1993.
He has been honoured with fellowships from three different photographic societies; the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain (1987); the Photographic Society of Southern African (1987); and the Professional Photographers of Southern Africa (1997).
- Allan, Jani, Face Value, Longstreet, Cape Town, 1980s, ISBN 0-620-07013-7 (inside photographs)
- Sawa, Andrzej, Children of South Africa, Southern Book Publishers, South Africa, 1993, ISBN 1-86812-422-3
- Snyman, Lannice, Sawa, Andrzej, Johnson, Vaughan, Reflections of the South African Table, S & S Publishers, South Africa, 1995, ISBN 0-620-19199-6
- Snyman, Lannice, Sawa, Andrzej, South African Family Favourites, Publisher Don Nelson, 1996, ISBN 9781868061365
- Roberts, Margaret, Weber, Rita, Sawa, Andrzej, Herbs and Spices Cookbook, Southern Book Publishers, South Africa, 1998, ISBN 1-86812-483-5
- Snyman, Lannice & Sawa, Andrzej, Rainbow Cuisine, S&S Publishers, South Africa, 1998, ISBN 0-620-22354-5
- Snyman, Lannice & Sawa, Andrzej, Gourmet Hideaways, S&S Publishers, South Africa, 2000, ISBN 0-620-25924-8
- Snyman, Lannice & Sawa, Andrzej, Rainbow Cuisine, Konemann, South Africa, 2001, ISBN 3-8290-5903-5 (2nd edition)
- De Koster, Carolié & Sawa, Andrzej, Snack-style Food, Lapa, South Africa, 2004, ISBN 0-7993-3206-2
- De Koster, Carolié & Sawa, Andrzej, Keur Kos vir Elke Dag, LAPA Uitgewers, 2004, ISBN (pending)
- De Koster, Carolié & Sawa, Andrzej, Kies Gesond: Resepte vir Elke Dag, LAPA Uitgewers, 2009, ISBN 9780799342796