Raw courage recovered miners
It took guts and grim determination for seven illegal miners to venture into an abandoned gold mine in Mpumalanga.
It took the same courage to recover the five bodies.
Mandla Mongase, 43, Emmanuel Madolo, 45, Melanie Abraham, 48, Linda Fakude, 21, and Nkosinathi Fakude, 21, were killed by a rock fall in the disused mine in Barberton in which they had been searching for gold remnants.
Two members of the group - Xolile Maziya and Mandla Zitha - managed to escape and alert authorities.
On Monday Sowetan visited the area.
When we arrived at the scene, family and friends of the dead men were trying to reach the bodies at the bottom of a 120m-deep mine shaft.
A group of about 50 men and women were standing around the shaft watching or helping by supporting a rope that was tied to a tree. One man abseiled down the rope into the black depths.
The rescuers - using three spades, a pick and three 20-litre buckets to remove soil - succeeded where a professional rescue team had failed.
The expert team from Secunda called off the search last week, saying that it was too dangerous.
For the families and friends, recovering the bodies was a sign that their prayers had been heard.