Youngsters march from Soweto to Stellenbosch to highlight plight of mining communities

Mining company
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A group of young people have begun a long walk, protesting against the hardships faced by mining communities. They started their gruelling march on Tuesday from Soweto and are heading to Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, where – they say – the captains of the mining industry reside.

At the heart of the battle are mineral resources, education and economic freedom. Part of the plan of the more than 1 000 kilometre march is to pass through mining towns. Mining companies are urged to develop the communities in which they extract minerals.

“44 years later people in South Africa do not find themselves in the position they should be. We are landless, we are destitute, unemployed, drug addicts, drop-outs and face academic exclusions,” says Zukiswa White, who is part of the movement.

The South African Destitute Ex-Miners Forum has joined the campaign. The organisation represent ex-miners and their families.

“Universities that were founded by mines are excluding Black students who cannot afford to pay fees. That is why today we included students,” says Mangaliso Sambo, the General Secretary of the forum.

“As children of miners we are still marginalised, we are not benefitting from mineral resources. Mineral resources should be shared among those who benefit,” says Student Activist, Siyabonga Mahlangu.

The group is expected to arrive at Stellenbosch next weekend.