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Widow of famous Marikana man in green blanket speaks

Mgcineni “Mambush” Noki became famous as the man in the green blanket during the Marikana massacre.

He was part of the miners who were shot and killed by police during a wage protest. 

His widow, 40-year-old Mathapelo Lekoetje, has spoken the hardships she has suffered since her husband died. 

Lekoetje lives in Carletonville, on the West Rand, with her parents, three children aged 20, 17 and 12 and nieces aged 14 and six. She is now the breadwinner.

She has been working at a Sibanye-Stillwater mine plant in Carletonville as an administrator in the health department since 2008.

Noki and Lekoetje had one child together, who was just two when the mineworker who shot to fame as the “man in green blanket ” during the Marikana strike was among the dead after police opened fire shot and killed the striking workers on August 16 2012. She is now 12 and in grade 7.

“The past 10 years have not been easy. When the year starts, everything is fine but the problem is when we get to the month of August and my emotions begin to change. I feel pain. I am not fine.

‘’ Whenever I see images on TV of the Marikana shooting, I am taken back to those sad moments, ” said Lekoetje.

“He was killed on a Thursday and I found out on Sunday when I got a call from my child while Iwas at church. She told me ‘ Mambush has died ’ and my phone dropped out of my hands and fell on the ground.

“I became numb and could not breathe,” she recalled.

Lekoetje and Noki got married in 2010, a year after the birth of their child. She lived and worked in Carletonville while Noki worked in Marikana.

She said Noki would give her a monthly allowance of R3,000 to buy food and clothes for her and the children.

She stated that all that had changed and she now has to work extra hours to supplement her income. 


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Carletonville Lekoetje Mathapelo Lekoetje Mgcineni Mambush Noki Sibanye-Stillwater


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