The old man’s voice trembled as he related an incident about his nephew that he said he would remember forever.
His nephew, Telang Vitalis Mohai (37), had come home to Lithoteng village, Ha-Pita, near Maseru, Lesotho, to visit his family.
He had spent a long month away, earning a living at Lonmin mine near Rustenburg, where he was employed as a general production hand.
Telang gave the old man a parcel, containing a new pair of brown leather shoes and a green pair of pants.
“Uncle,” Mohai senior said his nephew told him, “I want you to be the best-dressed old man in Lesotho. I don’t want to see any older person dressed better than you.”
Those words, Mohai senior said, defined the kind of person Telang was: a kind and generous soul who lived for his family.
Telang apparently loved spending time in the pastures of his home village, working in the fields and looking after his cattle and sheep. But, most of all he loved his family, his wife and three daughters.
His uncle said Telang had been saving to complete the facebrick house, built for them on the property of his late parents home.
“What has happened is very painful,” said Mohai senior. “I worked on the mines for 32 years and have been involved in many strikes. In those days, there were many ways of quelling strikes – teargas, police dogs, water cannons. The police would disperse people so that they would go home and calm down. But this one … I’ve never seen in my whole life.” – Lucas Ledwaba