We spent hours at the end of the day trying to find Mr Boxwell. We talked to his neighbours and they shouted across the valley for him. We hiked up and down the hills, which felt more like mountains and we asked everyone that we could find in his village. We had to give up as it was getting dark and we had a long drive home to Maseru. I felt like I had let him down by not including him in the project, it feels so important to put a include everyone in the project, to try to give everyone a voice. When it comes to the court case next week, I really don’t want for all of the miners to just be names on a piece of paper.
Maleburu Lebitsa is the widow of Lekhoanyane Isaacs Lebitsa. She is 60 years old and lives in Leribe, Lesotho. Her husband died in 2010 after leaving the mines 4 years earlier due to his occupational lung disease. They were married in 1977 and for the next 33 years he was away from home most of the year.
“He came home often, but I was practically raising the children alone. He would send money home every month, about R800”.
Mataso Makone, the Widow of Molupe Makone, is 51 years old and lives in Butha But he, Lesotho. Her husband worked on the mines for 33 years, between 1974 and 2007 and died from TB in 2011. He was retrenched due to his medical condition but never received any compensation. Now she has to survive from money she receives from her daughters who are domestic workers in South Africa.
Speaking about why she married a miner she saidthat they met when she was 16, he sent a friend to tell her that he was interested. “I liked him a lot also” she said “Since he was already working I felt safe with him because I knew he was going to provide”.
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