Nokuthula Zibambele said her life and the lives of their 10 children have changed for the worse since that fateful day on August 16, 10 years ago.

Nokuthula Zibambele lost her husband in the 2012 Marikana massacre. Photo: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

MARIKANA – As South Africa and the international community reflect on the horror of the Marikana massacre, when 34 men were killed by police during a strike over wages, a family continues to count the loss.

The widow of Thabisile Zibambele, who was just 39 when he was killed on the first stage at Wonderkop koppie, where miners gathered during the strike, said the pain was still intense.

Nokuthula Zibambele said her life and the lives of their 10 children have changed for the worse since that fateful day on August 16, 10 years ago.

She is among dozens of other women who have had to leave their rural homes in the Eastern Cape, making the long journey to Marikana, where they now work in a mine as part of a peace deal.

Nokuthula Zibambele’s concerns about revisiting the trauma of her husband’s death are clear.

Greeting v Eyewitness news into a one-bedroom apartment in a dormitory alone in Marikana, she immediately hides her face in her hands.

The team reassures her that she doesn’t have to go where she isn’t ready as they ask how life has been for the Sizambele family since Thabisile was shot in Kopi.

“When schools close, now kids ask, ‘Are you coming home?’ and then I say that I can’t come back because I’m at work and the youngest said that it doesn’t matter if he goes home for the holidays or stays at the hostel, because it doesn’t matter, because he stays at home If there’s no one, it’s the same the same thing as staying in school. It’s really unpleasant to leave home and children,” she said.

Nokuthula, the sole breadwinner, works as a cleaner at Sibanye-Stillwater and said she was forced to move to a hostel in Marikana.

She knows it’s not the place to raise children, but she had no choice after her daughter Sandys, who was assigned to take care of the children at home, overdosed on pills in 2016. Her pain is palpable.

“It happened because the parents were not there, because if I had been there, I would have seen that the child was not okay. But there was no one there who cared for her and didn’t even know that something was wrong. I had to find someone to look after the children, which means I would have paid more money,” Nokuthula explained.

Without a community to support her in raising her children as she did in the Eastern Cape, Nokutula’s petite figure shrinks even further as she explains the pain of having to close her home in Lusikisiki to continue earning a cleaner’s salary so she can continue to feed her family. surviving children.

VIDEO: “I still don’t have the strength to forgive”

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