Thousands at miner's funeral

2012-09-01 17:42
A crime scene expert investigates the scene of the shooting where 34 miners were shot and killed at the Marikana mine in the North West. (AP)

A crime scene expert investigates the scene of the shooting where 34 miners were shot and killed at the Marikana mine in the North West. (AP)

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Mthatha - Thousands of relatives, colleagues and friends on Saturday attended the funeral of one of the miners killed when police opened fire at Lonmin's Marikana mine last month.

They'd gathered under a white tent in Mdumazulu village to mourn the passing of Phumzile Sokhanyile and his mother.

The miner's 79-year-old mother, Glorious Mamkhuzeni-Sokhanyile - who suffered from asthma and hypertension - fainted when she first learnt of the death of her son two days after the killings, a family member said.

But it was the images of the police opening fire on the miners a day later on television news that sent her to her death, the miner's aunt Thokozile Sokhanyile, told AFP.

"She saw the images and went 'Ah! That's how my son was killed?' and she collapsed," the aunt recounted, adding that she was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

On Saturday, only the mother's coffin lay in front with a wreath on top, while Phumzile's remains were buried on Friday as soon they were received by the family, according to rites in cases where a person dies of unnatural causes.

The body was not even allowed anywhere near his family home, and was taken straight to a cemetery, in the belief that it will ward off bad omens in future.

Police killed 34 miners, wounded 78 and arrested 270 miners. They have since been charged with their colleagues' murder, in what lawyers have described as a "bizarre" move.

Another 10 people also died in the unrest.


Read more on:    lonmin  |  east london  |  culture  |  mining unrest
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