Around 70% of the Ga-Molekane Village are under 35 years of age. Unemployment and poverty are pervasive in many mining communities, and youth in particular are frustrated and angry at the dearth of opportunities available to them when thriving mine operations are in sight of their birthplace. They hope for a better future; a chance to move beyond the confines of their family home, and carve out a space in which they can be independent, earn an income and raise a family.
Nathnabiseng, 33, lives with her parents in Ga-Molekane. She has only recently given up the use of a walking stick after she became the unsuspecting victim of community unrest when she was shot in the leg by a stray bullet in September 2015. Community protestors had blocked the tar road running parallel to the village, a major thoroughfare for mine trucks accessing the nearby RPM Mogalakwena Mine’s Sandsloot Pit. Nathnabiseng has made a steady recovery, but worries about the financial burden placed on her family as a result of the shooting, having frequented the doctor on several occasions. Her anger and frustration at the mine is undimmed. “The mine doesn’t do anything for us, there is a lack of consultation when projects are implemented, and they don’t benefit the community.”
Nthnabiseng Florence Mputla, 33, gunshot victim, Ga-Molekane Village, Mapela, Limpopo, Northern Limb
Police Report illustrating Nthnabiseng Florence Mputla’s gun shot wound, Ga-Molekane Village, Mapela, Limpopo, Northern Limb
Mphoza Matlou, 14, Ga-Molekane Village, Mapela, Limpopo, Northern Limb
Chris has lived in Ga-Molekane Village all his life, and says the mines are a good thing. “Others, they are benefiting because they have jobs, scholarships and internships.”
Khutjo Motlotsi, 16 and Chris Nkhona, 20, Ga-Molekane Village, Mapela, Limpopo, Northern Limb
William Nkuna, 51, the head herdsman employed by the community of Ga-Molekane to supervise the safe grazing of livestock in the area, recalls a time when cattle could roam as far as the mountains of Mohlohlo. “When we were growing up here there was plenty of grazing land. Now the mine has taken that all away. We had land to farm, land to live. Now we have nothing.” Due to the increasing pressure to feed his livestock and the ongoing financial constraints on William and his family, he has sold off 15 head of cattle in recent times to give his child the chance to go to school.
William Nkuna, 51, head herdsman in the community of Ga-Molekane Village, Mapela, Limpopo, Northern Limb
A young boy herds cattle adjacent to RPM Mogalakwena Mine’s tailings dam, Ga-Molekane Village, Mapela, Limpopo, Northern Limb
Anna Makgai, 33, Collecting wood, Ga-Molekane Village, Mapela, Limpopo, Northern Limb
Entrance to the graveyard of Ga-Molekane Village with the RPM Mogalakwena Mine dump, Mapela, Limpopo, Northern Limb
A miners glove adjacent to RPM Mogalakwena Mine, Mapela, Limpopo, Northern Limb
RPM Mogalakwena Mine, Ga-Molekane Village, Mapela, Limpopo, Northern Limb