"In my mind, I was beginning to picture myself looking like other Basotho whom I envied so much and who had been to that world beneath the earth," says Mothonyana Poli, who left Lesotho to work in the gold mines. Having arrived, he finds a world considerably different than he'd envisioned, where he is just one among 400,000 migrant miners from all over southern Africa.
THE COLOR OF GOLD takes place in the underground stopes of the President Steyn Gold Mine and in the miners' barracks, where 8000 men are enclosed in a compound next to a mine shaft. The film focuses on four men who share a small room with twelve others. They question the hazards of their dangerous work, and rue how their jobs have destroyed their families, who are not allowed into South Africa. They speak candidly about life in a single-sex hostel, use of prostitutes, money, AIDS - even about second families which some miners have started in South Africa.
"The miners' anger, despair, and utter resignation are effectively conveyed by producers Don Edkins and Mike Schlömer. The tedium and drudgery are depicted through stretches of visuals punctuated only be ambient sounds of daily routines... Recommended to high school, college, and public libraries accessing information on evolving events in southern Africa. Only time will reveal how the ANC-led South African government deals with the problems of and caused by this migrant workforce." - Will K. Covington, Video Rating Guide for Libraries
First Prize Winner, 1993 Oberhausen Film Festival
Second Prize Winner, Tam Tam Video Festival
"The film shows the life and work of black workers in the gold mines of South Africa with feeling, authenticity and realism... They vividly describe their situation as a life of transiency, with a loss of social bindings, and a lack of psychological stability. The only thing that connects them with their families is money." - Oberhausen Film Festival