The family of Mzukisi Sompeta, who live in kwaDiki village in the Lusikisiki district of the Eastern Cape, was expecting him to return home soon, bearing gifts as he always did. Instead, they buried him last Saturday.
Sompeta, a 37-year-old rock drill operator, died at Marikana, leaving a chasm in his rural community.
In the villages of Lusisiki, families mark their rise from poverty by building brick homes to replace their traditional rondavels. For the Sompetas this was an on-going project, driven by Mzukisi’s earnings from Lonmin. He was due home for his annual leave the week after the day he died.
His family remember him as man who loved to sing, especially the popular church hymn
“Ndikhokhele Yehova” – even though he could never bring himself to admit that he was not a great singer.
Mzukisi’s mother, Mabhengu Sompeta, said: “As you can see his father can’t do anything. He walks with a stick and has to be assisted to go anywhere. He is just a pensioner who is not well, so Mzukisi was the one who was heading this household. Neither of my other two children are working so we are back to struggling because the family is big.”
Dressed in her black mourning dress and sitting on a mattress in the rondavel, Mabhengu mourned the loss of a man who had brought peace to their lives. – Thanduxolo Jika