Manthatuda Josephina Lebina (Widow of Liphapang Lebina) - Ma Mpo. Maseru - 72 years old - Silicosis - no compensation
Mncedisi Dlisani with his wife Nokwakha and thier daughter Sisipho - Mr Dlisani is 59 years old and worked in the gold mines for 15 years. He developed pulmonary TB and received no compensation.
Patrick Sitwayi & Asive Bingwa - Mr Sitwayi is 57 years old and worked in the gold mines for 22 years. He has silicosis and received no compensation.
Maleburu Lebitsa - Widow of Lekhoanyane Isaacs Kebitsa - Leribe, Lesotho - 33 years in the mines - Silicosis - no compensation
Makatleho Selibo is the widow of Mahola Selibo who worked in the mines for 33 years. He had silicosis and received no compensation.
Matsekelo Masupha (Widow of Mokonyana Robert Masupha) - worked on the mines for 29 years - Died in 2008 at 49 years old - Siliscosis - R89,000 compensation
Buzile Justice Nyakaza with his wife Nowongile - Upper Mxe, Cala, Eastern Cape - 62 years old - worked in mines for 32 years - Silicosis - No Compensation
Monde Mxesibe - Zagwityi, Eastern Cape - 62 years old - worked on the mines for 26 years - TB - no compensation
Myekelwa Mkenyane with his daughter Nophiwe Nqoko - Mgungu, Bizana - 59 years old - worked in the mines for 32 years - Silicosis - R36,000 compensation
Malungisa Thole - Eshesi Location, Bizana, Eastern Cape - 57 years old - worked in the mines for 19 years - Silicosis - No compensation
Masiko Somi with his wife Magumede - Nyaka, Bizana - 58 years old - Worked in the mines for 19 years - Silicosis - No compensation
Toulang Mako - Silioe, Mohale's Hoek, Lesotho - 65 years old - 21 years on the mines - silicosis - no compensation
Nanabezi Mgoduswa with his wife Nokwanda - Mr Mgoduswa is 48 years old and worked in the gold mines for 21 years. He has silicosis and drug resistant TB. He received no compensation.
Sekhobe Letsie is 72 years old and worked in the gold mines for 38 years. He has silicosis and received no compensation.
Joseph Lebone - Mohalaes Hoek, Lesotho - 64 years old - worked on the mines for 33 years - Silicosis - R40,000 compensation
© Thom Pierce
The High Court in Johannesburg will soon decide if a class action lawsuit can be laid against 32 gold mining companies in South Africa. Three law firms are representing a group of miners who are applying for this class action on behalf of all miners suffering from Silicosis or Pulmonary Tuberculosis as a result of working in the gold mines.
In partnership with the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Thom Pierce traveled around South Africa’s Eastern Cape, into Lesotho and up to Johannesburg to find and photograph the 56 sick miners and widows named in the lawsuit. The photographs were then displayed in the building next door to the courtroom in Johannesburg at the time of the case in October 2015. This was done as a piece of advocacy, to put a human face to the often stark and detached courtroom proceedings.
Silicosis is a preventable but incurable lung disease that is contracted in the gold mines through inadequate protection from silica dust. Miners who contract silicosis get tired and out of breath quickly and are prone to lung infections, respiratory failure and TB. Most miners who became sick were sent home with little or no compensation and no hope of finding further employment.
Thom Pierce – photographer, based in Cape Town. Born on the island of Jersey in 1978, he has lived in South Africa since 2009. In 2015 a collection of his images were acquired by the South African National Gallery for their permanent collection in Cape Town. His photographs have been published in many news publications (The Guardian, Sunday Times, Mail & Guardian, NPR), books, magazines and have featured heavily as part of several human rights campaigns.
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