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28 Oct 2015

Bench Marks Foundation (So. Africa)

Communities Being Stripped of their Heritage by Mining

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Communities in Sekhukhune in South Africa’s Limpopo Province are not only being stripped of their dignity, but of their heritage too thanks to mining, says Trevor Malope, one of Bench Marks Foundation’s many community monitors.
“Our land is an incredibly important part of our culture and integral to our lives, but mining has destroyed it.
“The soil is polluted, our water is polluted, never mind the air. The land has been destroyed with blasting, waste disposal, shaft and tunnel mining and the removal of topsoil through opencast mining.
“In addition, we are made to relocate leaving behind all that connects us to our ancestors, traditions and cultures. The people of Makobakobe have been relocated to Mogaboding and Maotsi to Ditwebeleng to make way for Anglo-American’s Twickenham mine... 

According to Malope, the inability to keep cattle, which is a very important part of the Bapedi culture as the livestock is used in funerals, weddings and appeasing the ancestors, has resulted in a complete loss of the communities’ culture.
“In addition to the cultural loss, there is a huge economic loss for the people. They no longer have the wealth they had before. For those people who are still able to keep cattle, it’s a long trek to find grazing for their cattle and the livestock sometimes die along the way or get stolen.