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A South African platinum mine via Wikimedia

All 955 South African Miners Have Been Rescued

But the question remains, how could something as commonplace as a power outage imperil the lives of almost 1000 people?

UPDATE:

All trapped South African miners have been rescued after power was restored to a mine-shaft elevator Friday morning. The 955 mineworkers had been trapped since Wednesday night after a storm toppled power lines in the region. While all the miners made it out with minimal injury, the saga underscores the safety issues miners face working in one of South Africa's biggest industries.


"It was stressful, there was not enough ventilation," mineworker Mike Khonto said to the BBC about their subterranean confinement. "Thankfully our management managed to send us food and water."

80 miners were killed in South Africa last year in what appears to be a rising trend. Mining company Sibanye-Stillwater says work at the mine should begin again on Monday but many in South African politics and the trade union movement say this is reckless. The National Union of Metalworkers of SA, NUMSA, insists that the mine remain shut, reports News24 pending a full investigation by the Department of Mineral Resources guaranteeing the safety of workers.

Original post begins below:

Around 950 South African miners are trapped in a gold mine near the city of Welkom, in central Free State after storms brought down nearby power lines last night. Around 40 have been rescued, but the rest remain underground. It's unclear why backup power is not available to rescue the stranded miners or why something so mundane as a power disruption could put so many people in danger.

As reported in the Independent

Joseph Mathunjwa, president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, said the incident raised "serious concerns regarding the lack of emergency plans at the mine" amid reports the mine's owner was forced to borrow a generator from another firm.

Mining is one of South Africa's biggest industries and has long been plagued with labor and safety issues. In 2012, miners working for the mining company Lonmin went on strike demanding higher pay and better conditions. South African police responded by shooting and killing 34 miners and wounding 78. The deadliest use of force by South African police since 1960, it would come to be known as the Marikana Massacre.

Mining safety in South Africa has come a long way since the end of apartheid. As reported in Reuters

Back in 1993, the year before Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president, 615 miners died in the pits. By 2009 - when Matsemela suffered his accident - the rate had dropped to 167 and it kept falling, reaching 77 in 2015, the Chamber of Mines said.

Latest figures, however, show an uptick in mining incidents and fatalities. There were 81 reported mining fatalities from January through November of 2017, according to data from South Africa's Chamber of Mines, an industry lobby group. This may be because as mines age, the shafts are forced to go deeper into the earth. As reported in Bloomberg last year.

South African miners are having to go deeper in ageing shafts to access additional ore in a country that's been mined commercially for over a century. Most miners killed this year labored in gold and platinum mines, which can extend more than 2 miles (3 kilometers) underground. They accounted for 57 of 73 deaths in 2016, according to the chamber.

Understandably South Africans are expressing a lot of emotions online about the trapped miners.



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Former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Laureate, Kofi Annan, Has Died

The celebrated Ghanaian humanitarian and the first black African to serve as head of the UN, passed away on Saturday at the age of 80.

Kofi Annan, the seventh UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away on Saturday morning following a brief illness. "His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during the last days," read a family statement. He was 80.

Annan was the first black African to serve as head of the United Nations, holding the prestigious position from 1997 to 2006. He was lauded for his global humanitarian work, eventually earning Annan and the UN a Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for "their work for a better organized and more peaceful world."

Annan was head of the UN during the onslaught of the Iraq War, proving to be one of the most challenging global events to occur under his time as Secretary General and one of the most divisive of the early 21st century. "I think the worst moment of course was the Iraq war, which as an organization we couldn't stop—and I really did everything I can to try to see if we can stop it," he said in 2006.

Annan was also the founder of the Kofi Annan foundation and chairman of The Elders, an international humanitarian organization of global leaders founded by Nelson Mandela.

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Janet Jackson Returns With Afrobeats-Inspired Song & Video 'Made For Now' Featuring Daddy Yankee

The icon's latest is a nod to the sound, fashion and culture of the diaspora.

Ms. Jackson is back.

The iconic artist returns with her first single since the release of her 2015 album Unbreakable, and it's a timely nod to the "made for now" influence of afrobeats fashion, sound and culture.

On "Made For Now," which features Puerto Rican reggaeton titan Daddy Yankee, Janet Jackson does what she's done successfully so many times throughout her decades-long career: provide an infectious, party-worthy tune that's fun and undeniably easy to dance to. "If you're living for the moment, don't stop," Jackson sings atop production which fuses dancehall, reggaeton and afrobeats.

The New York-shot music video is just as lively, filled with eye-catching diasporic influences, from the wax-print ensembles and beads both Janet and her dancers wear to the choreographed afrobeats-tinged dance numbers, which see the dancers hitting the Shoki at one point in the video. The train of dancers travel throughout the streets of Brooklyn, taking over apartment buildings and rooftops with spirited moves.

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You Need to Hear Juls' New Single 'Saa Ara'


New hip-hop and highlife grooves from the celebrated UK-based Ghanaian producer.

By merging the diverse influence of growing up in Accra and East London, Juls has managed to cultivate a hybrid afrobeats style that has set him apart from the rest.

For his latest single, "Saa Ara," he teams up with award-winning rapper Kwesi Arthur and gifted lyricist Akan.

The brilliant fusion of vintage highlife instrumentals and booming hip-hop beats, along with Kwesi Arthur's lively chorus and Akan's fiery delivery gives the song a very spiritual and classical feel.

Soothe your soul this weekend with these tasteful sounds from Juls.

Listen to "Saa Ara" by Juls featuring Kwesi Arthur and Akan below.

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