For more than a century, South Africa’s demand for gold, diamonds, coal and platinum has gone from strength to strength, often shifting in accordance with the political economy and the availability of foreign markets. Mineral exploitation by means of cheap and disposable labour has brought national economic growth, making the mining industry the largest industrial sector in South Africa. The country is recognised globally for its abundance and variety of mineral resources, which account for a significant proportion of world production and reserves.
‘The mine’, irrespective of the particular minerals extracted, is central to understanding societal change across the country and evidently comparable to mining concerns around the world. This en- abled me to channel my conception of ‘the mine’ into visual representations that gave agency to these forgotten communities. The countless stories of personal suffering are brought to the surface and the legacy of ‘the mine’ is revealed.