Post-apartheid South Africa kills its miners

by rahnuma ahmed

The unspeakable humiliation of mine workers being regularly inspected by a medical doctor in the diamond mines of South Africa during the apartheid regime for the "theft" of precious stones. 1968 ?Peter Magubane

The first photograph, taken by Peter Magubane, the renowned black South African photographer whose visual documentation of apartheid earned him the tribute of being a “one man truth squad? — had shocked me.
I saw it first in Drik’s 2004 calendar. The picture was accompanied by the words of ?another South African, the internationally acclaimed, award winning playwright and poet Sindiwe Magona. As many of her readers know, Sindiwe had worked as a domestic before earning a graduate degree from Columbia University,
“Father worked in the gold mines of Johannesburg before I was born. I was in my thirties when I first laid eyes on Peter Magubane’s book of photos of “mine boys”. That book angered and disgusted me. But it wasn’t till I came to the corresponding part of my father’s life that a mule kicked me full in the belly. All this time, more than two decades after, the despicable things those photos depicted: grown men “naked as unpodded beans… dusted with sprayings of “DDT” and forced to show their anuses, regular inspection against theft of precious stones” — the vicious truth never penetrated my defences. Continue reading “Post-apartheid South Africa kills its miners”