Directed by Catherine Meyburgh & Richard Pakleppa • Documentary • 2019 • 98 minutes
In the biggest class action law suit the country had ever seen, South Africa’s largest gold mining companies were accused of knowingly exposing miners to deadly dust and disease.
Now, harrowing underground footage, intimate interviews with miners and their families, and rare archival material come together in DYING FOR GOLD, the untold story of the making of South Africa.
Coerced by colonial laws, hundreds of thousands of men left their families in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe and and to feed a seemingly endless need for cheap gold-digging labor. They became fodder for companies including Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Goldfields who reaped vast profits at the cost of human lives a system of modern slavery.
After more than a century of this practice, communities have been decimated. Poverty is overwhelming. Decades of men’s absence has left communities broken and unsustainable without their meager salaries. With the miners' inevitable illnesses, including silicosis and tuberculosis, their families are further burdened. The personal stories from miners across the sub-continent is visceral, intensely personal and devastating.
In their gripping documentary, South African director and longtime William Kentridge collaborator Catherine Meyburgh and South African-Namibian director Richard Pakleppa expose a century of deplorable environmental, labor and human rights practices, bringing to light the real cost of gold at last.