Grumbles of a hungry tribe

2010-03-20 15:52

DEEP within the beautiful, rocky valleys of Taung covered with

thorn bushes is the small village, Manthe Stadt.

The Ba Ga Maidi chief Kgosi Nyoko Motlhabane, his subjects and

government have built schools and a clinic to serve about 60 000


Despite the positives, poverty is pushing residents of this area


Out of sheer desperation to survive where there is practically no

chance of employment, people depend on social grants from other family


When this becomes unbearable too, they are often left with no other

option but to head to bigger towns in search for work.

One such person is Joseph Mokoai (38), a married father of


Mokoai took the difficult decision to leave his family behind in

Taung 18 years ago, but like so many other miners working at Impala Platinum in

Rustenburg, he says they had no option but to leave their families.

“I want to go back but I can’t because there is no work at home

(Taung),” said Mokoai.

Mokoai says young people in Taung turn to crime because there are

no job opportunities and their unemployed parents cannot afford to take them to

further their studies after completing matric.

“Young people often steal from us when we visit home and mug old

women who live by themselves of their pension money,” says Mokoai.

He, like other residents at his village, agrees that getting into a

partnership with a big mining company would greatly benefit their people.

“A bigger mining company in Taung would give us jobs and give

learnerships and bursaries to our children so they can contribute to the

development of Taung and of the rest of the country,” he says.

Mascorche Matsitsi (57), a single woman with no children, decided

to return home to Taung after working as a domestic worker for over two decades

in Johannesburg.

“I was tired of the busy life in the city and there was nobody to

take care of my parents’ house because all my brothers are married,” says


But she has not escaped poverty either.

“I don’t work. It’s hard to find work here. But sometimes I get odd

jobs to wash and iron clothing. At least I can buy some food to eat.

But sometimes no one calls me for piece jobs and if there is no

food in the house there’s nothing I can do but drink water and go to bed,” says


She firmly believes a better future would lie ahead for the people

of Taung if their tribe would be given the prospecting permit so a partnership

can be forged between them and a big mining company.


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