is clearly visible, but her right lung is buried under a haze of white.
doctors have given her bad news. She has mesothelioma, the same disease that
killed her husband six years ago.
Vergenoeg village – friends and relatives – who
have died from this disease.
her father as a labourer. Matshogo also worked on the mines as a labourer and
covered with asbestos.
We drank water from dams that were blue in colour.
It is only now we understand it was blue
asbestos, which is killing us now. Sometimes we picked up the flakes and ate
them like sweets. We were young and this thing looked so beautiful,” she
they found lots of asbestos flakes there as well.
population worked on the various asbestos mines nearby. They returned home in
work overalls covered in asbestos. Trucks carrying asbestos would park in the
village overnight, leaving blue asbestos in their wake.
They cooked in these shacks and sometimes children slept there.
Vergenoeg, like the other villages around the asbestos mines northeast of
Kuruman, has become a village of asbestos widows
Matshogo says. “Asbestos has left a dark cloud here. Now children grow up
without parents because of asbestos, and they end up leading terrible lives,”
diagnosed with mesothelioma he suffered a nervous breakdown.
never have worked there. He was worried about our children,” she says.
am just worried about my children because they are still young,” she says.
children have a decent home, a brick house she built with the payout from her
in Vergenoeg, it carries with it the deadly asbestos flakes that have already
killed so many.