Located at the foot of a rocky outcrop, with panoramic views of the valley bellow, the village of Moroke Sekutlong looks out over the once mighty Motse River. Bishop Marebane Samual Lebasa, 93, and his wife Marebane Magdeline Lepou, 76, have lived in the village for most of their lives. Magdeline, who was born here, remembers a time when their family depended on farming; vegetables were readily available, harvested daily from the land they shared with the community. No one went short of healthy food and clean water.
Change came in the form of an announcement from King Mgadimane Ntweong: their farming land had been acquired by Anglo American, who would use it to establish the Twickenham Platinum Mine. According to Bishop Samuel, with no involvement in, or even knowledge of, the negotiations that had taken place, each household received a once-off amount of R8000 – compensation for the fact that everything they, and generations before them, had relied on for their lives had been taken away. To survive, they’ve built small allotments in the garden of their homestead, growing a selection of vegetables for market, including beetroot and tomatoes. Neighbours help where they can, sharing mealie meal and other basic food products. “We struggled but I always made a plan,” says Bishop Samual. “I used to lay bricks but that was a long time ago. Now I am too old.”
Bishop Marebane Samual Lebasa, 93, Moroke Sekutlong Village, Limpopo, Eastern Limb
Sekgantsho has lived in Moroke Sekutlong Village her whole life. She and her three children rely on water collected from the Motse River for cooking and washing. Sekgantsho now believes that the small quantity of water she manages to collect from the stream is polluted, and has no choice other than to buy water. “My family and I are very sick from drinking this water, we all suffer from diarrhoea.”
Sekgantsho Phahlane, 38, Sick from drinking the water, Moroke Sekutlong Village, Limpopo, Eastern Limb