Cry of the Rocks by Pixie Emslie
Cry of the Rocks
by Pixie Emslie
There is a topical fascination with mining disasters world-wide. ‘Cry of the Rocks’ centres round all the issues and dangers of deep rock mining. It describes life on Nkuti, a modern deep rock platinum mine in post transition South Africa.
The story is essentially a thriller which includes a kidnapping, a murder and an international conspiracy. It takes place in post-apartheid South Africa with a modern multi-racial mix of characters. There is one central plot with sub-plots running through. The central plot revolves round a mysterious series of rockbursts which trap dozens of miners below ground. The sub-plots range across the confrontation of two rival gangs and attempts to threaten miners into sabotaging the mine at the behest of a global pressure group, and two kidnappings.
The climax comes with two of the main characters, Andries and Theuns, having to rescue three captives: Andries’ girlfriend Thandi and Theuns’ son and ‘Tannie Bessie’ who have had a bomb planted in their flat. The final showdown takes place underground.
The novel gives a good insight into mining as shift upon shift of thousands of hard men go down into the bowels of the earth to pick and blast their way through tons of rock in testing conditions of heat, humidity and lack of air and light – and constant danger.
Above ground are the homes, rooms, flats, kitchens, clubs, shebeens and brothels which sustain the miners, and there are the management, the trade unions, the media and the shareholders – all focused on the fortunes of Nkuti.