Book Review – Broke And Broken

by Lucas Ledwaba and Leon Sadiki (Blackbird Books) ISBN: 978-1-928337-30-0

Lucas Ledwaba is a veteran journalist who has worked for a number of national publications and is the 2010 recipient of the CNN African Journalist Award. Leon Sadiki is a photojournalist who received the Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Award Story of the Year 2013 and CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards for his work on Marikana.

Their collaboration in this book exposes the haunting tale of the harsh and negligent treatment of mine workers in the gold mining industry in South Africa.

Part one of the book is a collection of stories from men who have been retrenched from various mines due to their medical inability to work. Due to their inhalation of dust in the mines, they all contracted silicosis. This is a debilitating and progressive disease of the lungs. Part two tells the stories of the families and orphans left behind due to their breadwinner dying of occupationally contracted lung diseases. Part three outlines the mine workers’ legal battle against the mining houses for re-compensation.

Gold mining built South Africa into what it is today, and this book is a stark look at the treatment of mine workers. Broke And Broken is a compelling read with a poignantly human angle.

Ewa Fabris

Posted on: 27th November 2016