Defend Truth


Death for daring to ask more for entering the belly of the Earth


Lawrence Mduduzi Ndlovu is a Soweto-born Catholic cleric, lecturer, writer, poet and speaker, and arts enthusiast. He has written for Spotlight Africa, Daily Maverick, The Thinker, The Huffington Post, News24, The Southern Cross and The South African. He is a lecturer in the theology department at St Augustine College of South Africa. He is chairperson of the Choral Music Archive NPC, a trustee of the St Augustine Education Foundation Trust and an advisory council member of the Southern Cross Weekly. He was listed by the Mail & Guardian in the South African Top 200 Young South Africans list 2016. He is also the recipient of the 2016 Youth Trailblazer Award from the Gauteng provincial government.

On 16 August 2012, 34 miners, striking for a salary – a living wage – were shot by the South African Police Service in Marikana, North West.

Marikana 2012

On that hill

My people sat

Wanting to be heard

But were killed instead

In that hole

My people descended

Day after day

Risking their very lives

just to feed

their greedy masters

who in turn

gave them crumbs

just enough

to keep them alive

not because they cared for them

but because they needed them

to feed their unfillable guts


human life

in return for bread crumbs

In that town

They stood

Asking just for more

Pleading for just enough

To see to it

That their children

Would never

Enter the belly of the Earth

Just for leftovers

Desperately needed

To stay alive

Funny how

That mine there

Those trenches down there

Didn’t kill them

but the so-called humans

up here

killed them

Never thought

on this land

a black government

one that is meant to know

about slavery

about oppression

and unjustifiable mass murder

would at a simple word

that easily

take food away

from dinner tables

husbands from wives

fathers from children

brothers from families

that easily

because they dared

to ask for what was due to them.

We detested once

The death of our people

At the hands of racists

Today here

Yes here

An instruction is given

By our own

To mute our own

That loathsome moment

Has turned us inside out

And our filthy hearts

Have shouted for all to hear

That nothing

No one

Must attempt to stand between

Our money

And our comfort

That industry is priced

Much more than life

On this land

Miners were killed

For daring to ask

For what they deserved


Ndlovu’s work, Mayibuye: 25 Years of Democracy in South Africa, is to be published later this year.


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