Mgcineni “Mambush” Noki

Mgcineni Noki (34)

Mgcineni from Thwalikhulu in Mqanduli, Eastern Cape, was “The Man in the Green Blanket”.

Mgcineni, although at the time his identity was not known, was a prominent leader known only by the green blanket he wore about his shoulders, He featured prominently in TV footage leading up to the shooting of 34 miners at Marikana.

When the guns fell silent, he was among the dead.

He was affectionately known as “Mambush” and his family say it was no mistake he was chosen by other miners to be their leader. It was an extension of who he was.

“Our parents died a long time ago. My elder brother and his wife had to take care of us, but they also later passed away. Mambush was the father here. He took care of us and this home. We have nothing without him now,” said his sibling Nolufefe Noki.

The 30-year-old miner had been working at Lonmin since 2007.

“He was a driven man who was promoted in a year and received training to become a rock-drill operator,” said his cousin Mbulelo Noki, also one of the striking miners.

“Mgcineni was a very caring young man who never gave the village any problems. He even used to buy his former teachers cold drinks when he was home,” said villager Nowathile Ngcangwe, who went to mourn with the Noki family.

“I want people to know that we are very hurt and broken by what happened. People now think my brother was a violent person.

He wasn’t,” said Nolufefe. “I remember he would be the one who would calm us down and ask that we always keep the peace among us,”
she said.

He was a great Pirates fan and also loved weightlifting. He was married and had a three-year-old child, Asive.

Mbulelo said the last time he saw his cousin was on August 13.

“He was different, I didn’t like the person I saw. We were supposed to go home to our cousin’s funeral, but he didn’t even want to speak about it.

“He was taking his role as the strike leader very seriously,” said Mbulelo.

– Athandiwe Saba