Uhuru Portia Phalafala: Mine Mine Mine
Mine Mine Mine is a personal narration of Uhuru Portia Phalafala’s family’s experience of the migrant labor system brought on by the gold mining industry in Johannesburg, South Africa. Using geopoetics to map geopolitics, Phalafala follows the death of her grandfather during a historic juncture in 2018, when a silicosis class action lawsuit against the mining industry in South Africa was settled in favor of the miners.
Phalafala ties the catastrophic effects of gold mining on the miners and the environment in Johannesburg to the destruction of Black lives, the institution of the Black family, and Black sociality. Her epic poem addresses racial capitalism, bringing together histories of the transatlantic and trans-Indian slave trades, of plantation economies, and of mining and prison-industrial complexes. As inheritor of the migrant labor lineage, she uses her experience to explore how Black women carry intergenerational trauma of racial capitalism in their bodies and intersects the personal and national, continental and diasporic narration of this history within a critical race framework.