Silicosis: A tragic history of rights violations
In October 2015, Sonke Gender Justice and the Treatment Action Campaign joined former miners in a court hearing seeking certification for a class action lawsuit that would force the entire gold mining industry to pay damages to former gold miners who are now sick with silicosis and/or tuberculosis. Because of being laid off work due to ill health caused by the inhalation of silica dust present in gold mines while working underground, the ex-miners are now destitute and have no income as they have not been adequately compensated by their former employers. Sonke provided leading evidence in the case, with our focus being on the impact of the occupational lung illnesses on the former miners, particularly the gendered impact of the diseases, which forces women and girl children to carry the burden of care for their husbands and fathers, thus depriving them of opportunities to become economically active and to take up educational training. This documentary illustrates the dynamics of this impact.