Phumzile Sokhanyile was so loved by his family that his mother collapsed and died when she heard that he had been killed at Marikana.
Sokhanyile (48) had many nicknames in Mdumazulu village in the Transkei, but most remember him as “uMshumayeli”, the preacher, who would use every opportunity at funerals to quote Bible verses. The nickname still makes people in the village smile as they recall a younger Sokhanyile, who would have rather herded cattle than go to church with his grandfather and siblings.
“If there was ever a funeral in the village he would be present and would take a chance and preach, which was very funny because he never used to like church,” said Nozukile, his sister. “He made us laugh and everyone in the village liked him because of his jokes and his caring nature.”
Nozukile said her brother resembled their father so much that he would sometimes claim to be him when teasing his mother. “He was very close to his mother and made her laugh every time he came back home. He would say ‘umyeni wakho ubuyile’ (‘your husband has returned’), and our mother would just give him a very big smile and hug.”
Sokhanyile had hopes of sending his daughter, who is in matric this year, to university, an opportunity he had never had. – Thanduxolo Jika