Mining bodies: The history of the South African mining industry and the bodies that are exploited (Nelson Mandela Foundation)

On the 15th of October, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, in collaboration with the Hanns Seidel Foundation and Breathe Films, hosted a dialogue titled “Mining Bodies” in line with its mandate to address poverty and inequality as well as to reckon with the past. The dialogue delved significantly into the lived conditions of mineworkers, mining communities and South Africa’s historical economic reliance on the mining industry. Preluding the conversation, the Mining Bodies exhibition was opened at the Nelson Mandela Centre for Memory.

 The exhibition reflects on the impact of South Africa’s gold mining industry in Southern Africa with a specific focus on the consequences of gold mining for public health with regard to the occupational lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis. It is presented through images, films, documents and sound elements drawn and created from industrial and state archives dealing with occupational health and mining ranging from the earliest period of gold mining, the 1880s, to the present.

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