Fezile Saphendu left the quiet village of Kwayimani in Mqanduli in the Eastern Cape two years ago to find work at the mine.
“He was such a hard-working boy. He passed so well in grade 12 but unfortunately he didn’t have the money to study further, that’s why he decided to go work at that mine,” said his sister-in-law, Noingilane Saphendu.
Twenty-three-year-old Fezile was a “people person”, who always had advice for others. “He wanted to become a social worker. He would have been very good at it. He had a talent for dealing with people,” said Noingilane.
His family members gathered on the lawn in front of his newly painted home to recall his antics. “When he came home he used to buy us all these sweet things. Anything we asked for here at home, he would provide. He loved biscuits and sweets,” said Nokulunga Saphendu, sister-in-law. “I would be satisfied if my brother-in-law had been ill as we would have had time to say goodbye to him. But for him to be taken away from us like this? We will never heal.”
She said Fezile’s father had had two wives and many children, and Fezile had loved all his siblings equally. – Athandiwe Saba