It takes almost an entire day, driving on dangerously winding dirt roads, to snake up the almost 3 000 metres into the Maluti mountains to reach the Lesotho village of Ha Tebesi – home to Molefi Osiel Ntsoele’s family.
Two hours from Maseru is the trading post of Semonkong. From there, a ride on a beat-up 4×4 took us on the final leg of the trip, along a precariously narrow rocky road that passes through tiny villages clinging to the mountainside like ant hills.
After an hour on that winding, rocky track, a shepherd looked at our tiny Ford Fiesta and smiled. “It’s not very far. Behind that snow capped mountain,” he said.
But in the end, we did not reach Ha Tebesi. A government official on a site visit told us it was another two hours away, and there was no way in hell we would’ve made it in our car.
Molefi Osiel Ntsoele made this long trip once every two months, ferrying groceries and provisions to his family.
Employed by Lonmin as a rock drill operator at Karee mine in Marikana, the forty-year-old was killed on August 16, along with 33 other miners, when police fired on striking workers.
Ntsoele’s last journey home was in a helicopter, when his body was airlifted from Maseru to Ha Tebesi for burial on Saturday, September 8. – Lucas Ledwaba