13 year-old South African Native mineworker is published in a newspaper


SA's 13 year-old miner

Thursday, 1 January 1970

On 7 March 1960, a photograph of a 13 year-old Native boy in a torn vest was published in the front page of the London Labour paper, the Daily Herald, with the headline "The miner, aged 13."

According to reports the boy was a miner at Clydesdale Colliery in Coalbrook, Orange Free State. The boy's wage was less than four pounds per month. The Daily Herald reported: "This is the sort of thing that could happen only in South Africa." In reaction, the Transvaal mining quarters said  that the treatment of the boy's story is the sort of the thing that could happen only in London.

According to the Native Labour Regulation Act, it was an offence to employ a Native in a mine under the age of 18 years. This act was amended by the Natives Laws Amendment Act of 1952.


• Anon, (1960), 'Picture of "boy miner" used to smear S. Africa' from The Star, 10 March (Available at National Library of South Africa, Cape Town Campus) pg 1.
• Anon, (n.d.), '1911. Native Labour Regulation Act,' from O'Malley, [online], Available at www.nelsonmandela.org [Accessed: 02 March 2011]

Last updated : 18-Dec-2014

This article was produced by South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011

Support South African History Online

Donate and Make African History Matter

South African History Online is a non profit organisation. We depend on public support to build our website into the most comprehensive educational resource and encyclopaedia on African history.

Your support will help us to build and maintain partnerships with educational institutions in order to strengthen teaching, research and free access to our content.