Ntombizolile Mosebetsane has not cracked a smile or a joke since she heard that President Jacob Zuma would release the Marikana report on Thursday night.
The widow of Thabiso Mosebetsane has no words to express her anguish at what seems to be the end of her search for closure.
“What do you want me to say?” the widow from Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape asked with a sigh. “I have no words. There are no words. I am tired, from here to here,” she said, pointing from her heart to her head. Her exhaustion was also evident on her face.
She said she heard the news that the report was going to be released as she was finishing her shift at Lonmin’s Karee mine on Thursday afternoon.
“I felt very weak. I still do. But there is so much I need to understand,” said the woman who works as a general cleaner.
For two years, she has been strong and held her family together while attending the Farlam commission of inquiry. She met other widows like herself and has taken on the role of mother to some of the younger women.
But when we meet at the Wits University Law Clinic on Friday, she is broken, and drifts in and out of the conversation when other family members complain bitterly about the outcome of two years of sitting at the commission, which was held first at the Rustenburg Civic Centre and then in Centurion.
“For two years, I have given up my life for this. I literally abandoned my children coming to this commission, hoping we would get an answer to what happened to their father. Yet today I still don’t know,” she said.
Her husband was shot dead at Scene 2, where police opened fire on fleeing miners.
The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA’s litigation director, Nomzamo Zondo, said at least Mosebetsane could talk during her interview with me – she couldn’t on Thursday during the attorneys’ family debriefing meeting.
On Thursday at Lonmin, as President Zuma read portions of the report, Mosebetsane intently watched him on a laptop because the TV in the boardroom did not work. Her cheeks were flushed and her shoulders slumped.
“The report says nothing about who killed my husband or why the police believed that any of them should have died.
“Would it be too much to ask Zuma to come to us personally, as the president of this country, to address us? Because this cannot be the final chapter of our people’s lives,” she said.