For Sifiso Mavuso, the ordeal of 5 February 2016 at Lily Mine did not just take away the family’s breadwinner, it also shut down his dreams of one day becoming an accountant.
The 23 year old was doing his second year at the University of Johannesburg when his sister Pretty Nkambule, who was assisting him towards his studies, sank with a lighting container along with 89 other colleagues.
During the rescue mission, only 87 mineworkers were accounted for, leaving Nkambule, Elmon Mnisi and Solomon Nyirenda trapped for hours, days, weeks, months and currently, five years.
Mavuso said he was doing well in his studies until the day of the ordeal.
“At first I was doing okay. I had hope that they were going to be rescued, but a week after I started having nightmares. I started seeing my sister and it affected me from then until I could no longer take it,” said Mavuso.
“I ended up dropping [out of] university because I could not concentrate, and I thought being there was of no use as I kept failing.”
To date, the Nkambule, Mnisi and Nyirenda families remain in the dark about the developments of the retrieval of the bodies of their loved ones.
They have since resorted to camping just outside the mine as they hopelessly wait to find closure.
They say police have been harassing them, trying to force them out of the camp that was set up almost two years ago.
“We will wait here until we get the bodies of our people,” said Mavuso.