Hero takes on mining giant

By Drum Digital
24 March 2010

As the morning breeze gently blows across the homestead in Kambi near Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, a frail Nowinile Mankayi shuffles to the graveyard behind the family's homestead. Staring pensively at the open grave, the 92-year-old leans on her stick and shakes her head.

"My son will be laid to rest here tomorrow, next to my late husband, Nkonzombi. I had thought he would bury me first," she says.

The family has gathered here from all over South Africa and everyone is hard at work preparing for the event after they had to borrow money from neighbours to help finance the funeral. But the greatest tragedy of all is that Thembekile died of lung disease on 26 February, just a week before he was awarded R2,6 million in compensation by the Constitutional Court. For the Mankayi family and the thousands of other miners who spend their days digging deep into the earth's belly in unhealthy conditions, his death is not in vain.

Read the article in the Drum of 31 March 2011 – and share your views below.

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