The Mining Legacy Of Poverty, Inequality And Violence In South Africa
Updated: Feb 11, 2019
This is a monument in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, South Africa depicting black rock drill operators, in short, mine workers at work. It's a painful, heart wrenching tribute to the blood, sweat and tears that these lowly paid workers [slaves] have shed in the bowels of the Witwaterand gold basin over the past century and a half to enrich the Rand Lords [Oppenheimers, Rhodes, Barnators and Anglo Americas].
I shot this image at midnight one Wednesday evenining in memory of the men I knew were working under ground all over South Africa at the time I was taking the image. I also took it in darkness to commemorate the conditions under which operations ensue in the depths of the earth irrespective of the ambiance above ground.
This was my personal moarnful celebration to these men [and women] who enter the bowels of the earth everyday with the threat of death hanging over them. All so that they can extract the riches entombed in devil's layer for the benefit of western capitalists and a few elite African gatekeepers.
They risk their lives to bring out tremendous wealth for the mine owners, in exchange for worthless papers whose value is controlled in the capital centers of New York and London. A paper currency whose value is so wontonly manipulated for the benefit of the western rent seekers that it's a detriment to the poor miner and his legacy.
This monument is a mockery of the nation because it celebrates the persisting enslavement of our people in the twenty first century. It's a symbol of the blood and human sacrifices that have been made in South Africa for the enrichment of the white man since his arrival.
It symbolizes the bloodsucking, inhumanity character of capitalism and our cooption into a system which leaves human beings with no other means of survival but for them to sacrifice life, blood, limb and soul in a life of unrelenting poverty and servitude to the gods and Rand Lords.
In sarcastic ironly, just a few meters from this monument is a club named Rand Lords. A celebration of the enrichment of the world's banking elite by the more than +$4.5 trillion dollars of gold that has been mined in South Africa into the refinaries of Johonson Matthey, Engelhart industries and channeled to market through the London Bullion market, enriching millions but South African along the value chain.
It is estimated that South African gold constitutes more than 54% of all the gold found in the world today. A great endowment given to the world by these poor slaves who continue to live under a legacy of disease and poverty emanting from their servitude while, across the world an entire western social welfare system has continued to thanks to the inheritence paid for in their blood.
South African mining has been a sacrifice of men's souls and lives as they spend their prime years entombed in hades, even before their death. For more than a century in South Africa men and women walk into metal cages to descend into the heat, dust and staleness of the corridors of death, which can cave in on them any day, for the prosperity of the gods....
Then people wonder why the City Of Gold is such a cruel city. But what are we to expect when we live amongst people who spend most of their lives in the pits of hell only to come out for a temporary reprive into the confines of the surrounding mining hostels.
We wonder why these hostels of South Africa are full of violence and death, forgeting that blood, sodomy and the cries of campaionless men have been the legacy of their inhabitants. It's tenents are men whose sweat and blood waters the fires of hell as everyday they enter the depths to make a pact with the devil so that he may spare them for just one more day.
For a century these under ground cavens have killed more than 50 000 miners as the price of the earth releasing its grasp on its glittering riches. The only assumption one is left to make is that those who take the riches in exchange for the shed blood that is shed can only be vampires or children of the devil himself.
As for those men who go into the devils layer and die only to resurrect at the end of every shifts to walk out of the grave and return to their hostels. We can not expect them to be normal for these men are ghosts, maybe even demons or angels already lost to the earth for the devil has taken their souls and fear in exchange for the glitters of his domain.
I cry tears for these men of the dark and I weep at the sight of this monument.