33-year-old miner Bernice Motsieloa (R) briefs miners on their daily duties at the Anglo American Bathopele Mine in Runstenburg, North Western Province of South Africa, some 170 kms from Johannesburg, June 11, 2015. AFP/MUJAHID SAFODIEN
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Deep underground, where huge conveyer belts haul rocks to the surface, 33-year-old mother of two Bernice Motsieloa represents the quiet revolution transforming the macho culture of South African mining.Motsieloa is a shift supervisor at Anglo American's Bathopele platinum mine – one of several thousand female miners employed in a difficult and often dangerous environment traditionally dominated by men.Despite an apartheid-era ban on women working underground only being lifted in 1996, 15 percent of all employees in the mining sector are now female, exceeding the government's own target of 10 percent.A few kilometers from the Bathopele mine, a female worker was raped and killed underground in another Anglo American Platinum mine in 2012 .Three months ago, another female worker was raped in the changing rooms at a different mine also owned by the firm, but escaped with her life.Anglo American Platinum, the mine owner, is South Africa's largest private sector employer and has 3,081 women working in underground operations.
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