Mongezeleli Ntenetya was the champion of his family. At the age of 34, the rock drill operator had to provide for his mother, his wife, his three children and his eight younger siblings.
His was the only income for the family home, which lies off a gravel road in the village of Nqabarha near Idutywa in the Eastern Cape. He first started working at the mine when he was 22.
“He was a humble man, who took care of us all,” said his wife, Nosipho, her eyes red and swollen with tears. “He came home as regularly as he could because he wanted to make sure the garden was ploughed and that everything was in order.”
Nowathile, Mongezeleli’s mother, said her son’s dream was to educate his siblings. “He wanted a better future for his sisters and brothers and they all looked up to him,” she said.
Orlando, one of Mongezeleli’s younger brothers, said he did not know what life would be like now that his brother was gone. “Though my brother didn’t have much, whatever we asked for, he would give us. He was a kind man, a big man who loved making everyone laugh. But right now none of us at home can really talk about it. It hurts.” – Athandiwe Saba