Marikana: The wounds that will not heal

2017-08-20 06:02

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The sister of Mgcineni “Mambush” Noki – the man in the green blanket – who died at the infamous koppie where the Marikana massacre took place five years ago, is still hoping to see justice done.

Nolufefe Noki (40) said the Farlam commission of inquiry had not helped much in her quest for justice. No charges were laid against the perpetrators and there has been no compensation for the loss of mine workers’ lives and income.

She told City Press that she wondered whether her brother’s death was in vain considering that mine workers were still not being paid the R12 500 demanded during the strike.

She also wondered whether their living conditions in the mines had improved.

Mambush was one of the leaders of the 2012 strike that resulted in 34 mine workers, including him, being killed on August 16 when police fired live ammunition at them.

Their deaths were preceded by those of 12 other people – two police officers, two security guards and other mine workers – as the violent strike at Lonmin sent shock waves across the country and the world.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) built the Noki family a house in their village of Thwalikhulu in Mqanduli in the Eastern Cape.

It was built at the Noki homestead, where Mambush is buried in one corner of the garden, along with his brother Matyakabholwa and their parents.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa handed the house over to the family in June.

Nolufefe described the fully furnished three-bedroom house as a reminder of the sacrifice her brother had made for mine workers in general when he participated in the strike and demanded a better life for his co-workers.

“I thought to myself [when the house was handed over] that maybe my brother did not die in vain after all. Whenever I look at this beautiful house, I think of Mambush.

"He wanted to build us a proper house and his dream came true posthumously.

"For that, we are grateful to God and to his comrades at Amcu for what they did for us,” she said.

The fifth and last born child in his family, Mgcineni was skilled on the soccer pitch and was nicknamed Mambush after Mamelodi Sundowns soccer legend Daniel “Mambush” Mudau.

“I practically raised Mambush. I played the role of big sister and that of a mother to him. I don’t have children of my own,” Nolufefe said, adding that he had not met his father, who died while his mother was pregnant with him.

His mother also died while he was still young. He had two other sisters, NomaIndia and Nobom, who are still alive.

Nolufefe said she had not been to Marikana and had hoped she would be able to visit the area during the week to witness the commemoration event and see the place where her “brave brother” died.

Unfortunately, she fell ill and could not make the long trip to the commemoration attended by political parties, mine workers, widows and families.

Mambush, who emerged as the leader of the striking mine workers and always had his trademark green blanket wrapped around him, is also survived by five children and his widow Noluvuyo.

It was revealed during the Farlam commission by the mine workers’ lawyer, Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC, that postmortem results indicated that Mambush had been shot 14 times by the police including on his face, neck, lower limbs and buttocks.

Inside the house, there is a giant portrait of Mambush, the iconic picture taken by City Press’ multiaward-winning photojournalist Leon Sadiki at the koppie.

The photograph has become symbolic of the tragedy.

The new house also has two bathrooms with flushing toilets, and a living room complete with a fireplace. There is a braai area outside the house.

Nolufefe says that, although they are still waiting for electricity like everyone else, the home has become the envy of many in the village.

What is important is that her brother’s children have a decent place to call home and stay in during school holidays, she said.

Read more on:    amcu  |  marikana

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