Monument pays tribute to miners

2000-11-05 16:24

Sasolburg - About 400 people attended the fourth anniversary celebration of the renaming of Coalbrook Mining Village to Holly Country on Saturday, where South Africa's biggest mining disaster occurred 40 years ago.

Celebrations included the unveiling of a monument with a plaque in memory of the 450 miners who were killed in the old Coalbrook mine outside Sasolburg where the biggest mine disaster occurred.

Spokeswoman for Holly Country, Marlene Thorpe said a Taiwanese businessman, Richard Hse, who bought out the old mine village in October 1996, renamed it and turned the place into a hub of factories including clothing, shoes, stoves, wood and paper factories and a sportsfield.

Thorpe said Hse wanted to give the dead miners' relatives the opportunity to visit the place as the sign of respect and remembrance because the miners' bodies were never discovered.

Many of the relatives of the deceased miners came from Lesotho, where Hse also has business interests.

Song and dance followed the unveiling ceremony. Well-known singers who held shows in the area during 1959 and 1960 were present.

They included Bobby Angel and Anita de Jager, the daughter of Frans and Sannie Briel who wrote mining songs shortly after the Coalbrook mining disaster.

"It was a sad occasion, but the families of the miners were grateful for the opportunity to come to Holly Country and we are happy that we could show them that we care and that they do have a place to come to" said Thorpe. - Sapa