The last time Musa Gwelani saw his cousin Thembinkosi Gwelani was when he cradled him in his arms on the killing field of Marikana.
The 27-year-old Thembinkosi had been shot in the back of the head and Musa had tried to carry him but he couldn’t. He said the police were fast approaching so he let him go and ran for his life.
“The next time I saw him was at mortuary and there was a bullet wound in his head,” said Musa.
Thembinkosi was apparently caught in the hail of bullets while delivering food to the striking miners.
His death is devastating to his family. Thembinkosi had been at Lonmin to look for a job to try and help his six younger, orphaned siblings who live in Makhwaleni village in the Lusikisiki district of the Eastern Cape.
Now the siblings – five of whom are unemployed and one of whom is still at school – will have to rely on their grandmother’s pension to survive. “At least Themba sent money and took care of everything. As you can see, there is nothing in this house. We at times sleep on empty stomachs,” said one of the siblings, who asked not to be named.
The Gwelani family have had to turn to their neighbours to help them bury Thembinkosi. The villagers collected enough money to lay him to rest.
Musa said Thembinkosi would be remembered for his passion for traditional Mpondo music, which he liked to performe, even at the mines. – Thanduxolo Jika